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Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 1 (Life in the Wilds, Hill and the Valley, Brooke and Brooke Farm) [1832]

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Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1832). Vol. 1.

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About this Title:

The first volume of 9 in which Martineau writes short “tales” to show ordinary readers how the free market operates.

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No. I.
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printed by william clowes
Stanford Street

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In an enlightened nation like our own, there are followers of every science which has been marked out for human pursuit. There is no study which has met with entire neglect from all classes of our countrymen. There are men of all ranks and every shade of opinion, who study the laws of Divine Providence and human duty. There are many more who inquire, how the universe was formed and under what rules its movements proceed. Others look back to the records of society and study the history of their race. Others examine and compare the languages of many nations. Others study the principles on which civil laws are founded, and try to discover what there has been of good as well as of evil in the governments under which men have lived from the time of the patriarchs till now. Others — but they are very few—inquire into the principles which regulate the production and distribution of the necessaries and comforts of life in society.

It is a common and true observation that every man is apt to think his own principal pursuit the Edition: current; Page: [iv] most important in the world. It is a persuasion which we all smile at in one another and justify in ourselves. This is one of the least mischievous of human weaknesses; since, as nobody questions that some pursuits are really more important than others, there will always be a majority of testimonies in favour of those which are so, only subject to a reservation which acts equally upon all. If, for instance, votes were taken as to the comparative value of the study of medicine, the divine would say that nothing could be more important except theology; the lawyer the same, excepting law; the mathematician the same, excepting mathematics; the chemist the same, excepting chemistry; and so on. As long as every man can split his vote, and all are agreed to give half to themselves, the amount of the poll will be the same as if all gave whole votes. There is encouragement, therefore, to canvass, as we are about to do, in favour of a candidate whom we would fain see more popular than at present.

Can anything more nearly concern all the members of any society than the way in which the necessaries and comforts of life may be best procured and enjoyed by all? Is there anything in any other study (which does not involve this) that can be compared with it in interest and importance? And yet Political Economy has been less studied than perhaps any other science whatever, and not at all by those whom it most concerns,—the mass of the people. This must be because its nature and its relation to Edition: current; Page: [v] other studies are not understood. It would not else be put away as dull, abstract and disagreeable. It would be too absurd to complain of its being difficult in an age when the difficulties of science appear to operate as they should do, in stimulating to enterprise and improving patience.

Political Economy treats of the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Wealth; by which term is meant whatever material objects contribute to the support and enjoyment of life. Domestic economy is an interesting subject to those who view it as a whole; who observe how, by good management in every department, all the members of a family have their proper business appointed them, their portion of leisure secured to them, their wants supplied, their comforts promoted, their pleasures cared for; how harmony is preserved within doors by the absence of all causes of jealousy; how good will prevail towards all abroad through the absence of all causes of quarrel. It is interesting to observe by what regulations all are temperately fed with wholesome food, instead of some being pampered above-stairs while others are starving below; how all are clad as becomes their several stations, instead of some being brilliant in jewels and purple and fine linen, while others are shivering in nakedness; how all have something, be it much or little, in their purses, instead of some having more than they can use, while others are tempted to snatch from them in the day-time or purloin by night. Such extremes as these are seldom or never to be met Edition: current; Page: [vi] with under the same roof in the present day, when domestic economy is so much better understood than in the times when such sights were actually seen in rich men's castles: but in that larger family,—the nation,—every one of these abuses still exists, and many more. If it has been interesting to watch and assist the improvement of domestic economy from the days of feudal chiefs till now, can it be uninteresting to observe the corresponding changes of a state? If it has been an important service to equalize the lot of the hundred members of a great man's family, it must be incalculably more so to achieve the same benefit for the many millions of our population, and for other nations through them. This benefit cannot, of course, be achieved till the errors of our national management are traced to their source, and the principles of a better economy are established. It is the duty of the people to do this.

If a stranger had entered the castle of a nobleman, eight hundred years ago, and, grieved at what he saw, had endeavoured to put matters on a better footing, how ought he to set about it, and in what temper should he be listened to? If he had the opportunity of addressing the entire household at once, he would say, “I have been in your splendid halls, and I saw vast sums squandered in gaming, while hungry creditors looking on from without with rage in their countenances. I have been in your banqueting-room, and I saw riot and drunkenness today where there will be disease and remorse tomorrow. Edition: current; Page: [vii] I have been in your kitchens, and I saw as much waste below as there had been excess above, while the under servants were driven into a cold corner to eat the broken food which was not good enough for their masters' dogs. I have been in your dungeons, and I saw prisoners who would fain have laboured for themselves or their fellow-captives, condemned to converse in idleness with their own melancholy thoughts, or with companions more criminal and miserable than themselves. I have been among the abodes of those who hew your wood and draw your water, and till your fields, and weave your garments; and I find that they are not allowed to exchange the produce of their labour as they will, but that artificial prices are set upon it, and that gifts are added to the profits of some which are taken out of the earnings of others. I hear complaints from all in turn, from the highest to the lowest; complaints which I cannot call unreasonable, since it is equally true that the poor among you are oppressed, and that the rich are troubled; that the rulers are perplexed and the governed discontented. These things need not be. There are methods of governing a family which will secure the good of all. I invite you to join me in discovering what these methods are.” What would be thought of the good sense of such a household if they should reject the invitation;—if the rulers should say, “ We are much perplexed, it is true, to know how to govern; but it is very difficult to change the customs of a family, and so we will go on Edition: current; Page: [viii] as we are;” if the sons and daughters of the house should reply, “ It is true the servants threaten us with vengeance, and we have more trouble than enough with their complaints; but we should find the inquiry you propose very dull and disagreeable, so do not let us hear any more about it;” if the servants should say, “ We have many grievances certainly, and we can easily tell what ought to be remedied; but as to what the remedies are, we are told we cannot understand the subject; so instead of trying to learn, we shall redress our troubles in our own way? “If this is folly, if this is neglect, if this is madness, it is no more than as many people are guilty of as refuse to hear anything of Political Economy, because it is new, or because it is dull, or because it is difficult. No one could make any of these objections, if he knew the nature, or saw anything of the utility and beauty of the science.

Half-civilized states were like the half-civilized household we have described, eight centuries ago. We wish we could go on to say that civilized states are managed like civilized households, that Political Economy was nearly as well understood by governments as domestic economy is by the heads of families. That it is far otherwise, our national distresses too plainly show. The fault lies, however, quite as much with the governed as with their rulers. Unless the people will take the pains to learn what it is that goes wrong, and how it should be rectified, they cannot petition intelligently or effectually, and Edition: current; Page: [ix] government will regard their complaints as unreasonable and their afflictions as past help. However true it may. be that governments ought to look over the world at large for the purpose of profiting by universal experience and improving their measures in proportion as knowledge advances, it is equally true that the people should look abroad also, and observe and compare and reflect and take to heart whatever concerns the common interests of the millions of their countrymen. If many of them occupy such a position as that they cannot do this, is it not at least their duty, should it not be their pleasure, to listen to those who have observed and compared and reflected and come to a certain knowledge of a few grand principles, which, if generally understood, would gradually remove all the obstructions, and remedy the distresses, and equalize the lot of the population? Such ought to be the disposition of the people.

But the people complain, and justly, that no assistance has been offered them which they could make use of. They complain that all they can do is to pick up bits and scraps of knowledge of Political Economy, because the works which profess to teach it have been written for the learned, and can interest only the learned. This is very true, and it is the consequence of the science being new. All new sciences are for some time engrossed by the learned, both because preparation is required before they can be generally understood, and because it is some time before men perceive how close an interest Edition: current; Page: [x] the bulk of society has in every new truth. It is certain, however, that sciences are only valuable in as far as they involve the interests of mankind at large, and that nothing can prevent their sooner or later influencing general happiness. This is true with respect to the knowledge of the stars; to that of the formation and changes of the structure of the globe; to that of chemical elements and their combinations; and, above all, to that of the social condition of men. It is natural that the first eminent book on this new science should be very long, in some parts exceedingly difficult, and, however wonderful and beautiful as a whole, not so clear and precise in its arrangement as it might be. This is the case with Smith's Wealth of Nations,—a book whose excellence is marvellous when all the circumstances are considered, but which is not fitted nor designed to teach the science to the great mass of the people. It has discharged and is discharging its proper office in engaging the learned to pursue the study, and in enabling them to place it in new lights according to the various needs of various learners. It is natural, again, that the first followers of the science should differ among themselves, and that some should think certain points important wtlich others think trifling; and it is a matter of course that their disputes must be tiresome to those who know little of the grounds of them. It is perfectly natural that the science should be supposed obscure and the study of it fruitless which could thus cause contradictions and perplexities at the Edition: current; Page: [xi] very outset. It is perfectly natural that when certainty began to be obtained and regularity to come out of the confusion, formality should be the order of the day; that truths should be offered in a cold the dry form, and should be left bare of illustration, and made as abstract and unattractive as possible. This is a very hopeful state of things, however: for when truth is once laid hold of, it is easy to discover and display its beauty; and this, the last and easiest process, is what remains to be done for Political Economy. When it is done, nobody must again excuse himself from learning, out of discontent at the way in which it is taught.

The works already written on Political Economy almost all bear a reference to books which have preceded, or consist in part of discussions of disputed points. Such references and such discussions are very interesting to those whom they concern, but offer a poor introduction to those to whom the subject is new. There are a few, a very few, which teach the science systematically as far as it is yet understood. These too are very valuable: but they do not give us what we want—the science in a familiar, practical form. They give us its history; they give us its philosophy; but we want its picture. They give us truths, and leave us to look about us, and go hither and thither in search of illustrations of those truths. Some who have a wide range in society and plenty of leisure, find this all-sufficient; but there are many more who have neither time nor opportunity for such an application Edition: current; Page: [xii] of what they learn. We cannot see why the truth and its application should not go together,—why an explanation of the principles which regulate society should not be made more clear and interesting at the same time by pictures of what those principles are actually doing in communities.

For instance: if we want to teach that security of property is necessary to the prosperity of a people, and to show how and in what proportion wealth increases where there is that security, and dwindles away where there is not, we may make the fact and the reasons very well understood by stating them in a dry, plain way: but the same thing will be quite as evident, and far more interesting and better remembered, if we confirm our doctrine by accounts of the hardships suffered by individuals, and the injuries by society, in such a country as Turkey, which remains in a state of barbarism chiefly through the insecurity of property. The story of a merchant in Turkey, in contrast with one of a merchant in England, will convey as much truth as any set of propositions on the subject, and will impress the memory and engage the interest in a much greater degree. This method of teaching Political Economy has never yet been tried, except in the instance of a short story or separate passage here and there.

This is the method in which we propose to convey the leading truths of Political Economy, as soundly, as systematically, as clearly and faithfully, as the utmost pains-taking and the Edition: current; Page: [xiii] strongest attachment to the subject will enable us to do. We trust we shall not be supposed to countenance the practice of making use of narrative as a trap to catch idle readers, and make them learn something they are afraid of. We detest the practice, and feel ourselves insulted whenever a book of the trap kind is put into our hands. It is many years since we grew sick of works that pretend to be stories, and turn out to be catechisms of some kind of knowledge which we had much rather become acquainted with in its undisguised form. The reason why we choose the form of narrative is, that we really think it the best in which Political Economy can be taught, as we should say of nearly every kind of moral science. Once more we must apply the old proverb, “Example is better than precept.” We take this proverb as the motto of our design. We declare frankly that our object is to teach Political Economy, and that we have chosen this method not only because it is new, not only because it is entertaining, but because we think it the most faithful and the most complete. There is no doubt that all that is true and important about any virtue,—integrity, for instance,—may be said in the form of a lecture, or written in a chapter of moral philosophy; but the faithful history of an upright man, his sayings and doings, his trials, his sorrows, his triumphs and rewards, teaches the same truths in a more effectual as well as more popular form. In like manner, the great principle of Freedom of Trade may be perfectly established by a very dry argument; but Edition: current; Page: [xiv] a tale of the troubles, and difficulties, and changes of good and evil fortune in a manufacturer and his operatives, or in the body of a manufacturing population, will display the same principle, and may be made very interesting besides; to say nothing of getting rid of the excuse that these subjects cannot be understood.

We do not dedicate our series to any particular class of society, because we are sure that all classes bear an equal relation to the science, and we much fear that it is as little familiar to the bulk of one as of another. We should not be so ready to suspect this ignorance if we heard less of the difficulty of the subject. We trust it will be found that as the leading principles come out in order, one after another, they are so clear, so indisputable, so apparently familiar, that the wonder is when the difficulty is to come,—where the knotty points are to be encountered. We suspect that these far-famed difficulties arise, like the difficulties of mathematical and other sciences, from not beginning at the beginning and going regularly on. A student who should open Euclid in the middle, could no more proceed from want of knowing what came before, than a sawyer who should insert his saw in a hole in the middle of a plank could go on sawing while the wood was closed both behind and before. In like manner, any novice who wishes to learn in a hurry the philosophy of Wages, and dips into a treatise for the purpose, can make nothing of it for want of understanding the previous chapters on Labour and Capital. This is the only way Edition: current; Page: [xv] in which we can account for the common notion of the difficulty of the science; and as this notion is very prevalent, we are constrained to believe that the ignorance we speak of is prevalent too. When, therefore, we dedicate our series to all to whom it may be of use, we conceive that we are addressing many of every class.

If we were to dedicate our work to all whom it may concern, it would be the same thing as appealing to the total population of the empire. We say this, of course, in reference to the subject, and not to our peculiar method of treating it. Is there any one breathing to whom it is of no concern whether the production of food and clothing and the million articles of human consumption goes on or ceases? whether that production is proportioned to those who live? whether all obtain a fair proportion? whether the crimes of oppression and excess on the one hand, and violence and theft on the other, are encouraged or checked by the mode of distribution? Is there any one living to whom it matters not whether the improvement of the temporal condition of the race shall go on, or whether it shall relapse into barbarism? whether the supports of life, the comforts of home, and the pleasures of society, shall become more scanty or more abundant? whether there shall be increased facilities for the attainment of intellectual good, or whether the old times of slavery and hardship shall return? Is any one indifferent whether famine stalks through the land, laying low the Edition: current; Page: [xvi] helpless and humbling the proud; or whether, by a wise policy, the nations of the earth benefit one another, and secure peace and abundance at home by an exchange of advantages abroad? Is there any one living, in short, to whom it matters not whether the aggregate of human life is cheerful and virtuous or mournful and depraved? The question comes to this: for none will doubt whether a perpetuity of ease or hardship is the more favourable to virtue. If it concerns rulers that their measures should be wise, if it concerns the wealthy that their property should be secure, the middling classes that their industry should be rewarded, the poor that their hardships should be redressed, it concerns all that Political Economy should be understood. If it concerns all that the advantages of a social state should be preserved and improved, it concerns them likewise that Political Economy should be understood by all.

As society is in widely different states of advancement in various parts of the world, we have resolved to introduce as wide a diversity of scenery and characters as it might suit our object to employ. Each tale will therefore be usually, if not always, complete in itself, as a tale, while the principles it exhibits form a part of the system which the whole are designed to convey. As an instance of what we mean: the scene of the first tale is laid in a distant land, because there is no such thing to be found in our own country as Labour uncombined with Capital, and proceeding through many stages to a perfect Edition: current; Page: [xvii] union with Capital. In the next volume, which treats of the operation and increase of Capital, the scene is laid in a more familiar region, because Capital can be seen in full activity only in a highly civilized country.

As the necessaries and comforts of life must be produced before they can be distributed, and distributed before they can be consumed, the order of subjects seems to be determined by their nature.

We propose to show what Labour can effect, and how it is to be encouraged and economized and rewarded: to treat of Capital, its nature and operation, and the proportions of its increase; and to exhibit the union of these two mighty agents of Production. Under the second head, Distribution, occur the great questions of Rent, Profits, Wages, and Population, the various modes of Interchange at home and abroad, including the consideration of all Monopolies, domestic and foreign. Under the third head, Consumption, are considered the modes of Demand and Supply, and of Taxation. All these and many more will be exemplified in sketches of society, in narratives of those who labour and earn and spend, who are happy or otherwise, according as the institutions under which they live are good or bad. There can be no lack of subjects for such tales in our own country, where the pauper and the prince, the beneficent landlord and the unreasonable tenant, the dissolute grandee and the industrious artizan, are to be found in the near neighbourhood of each Edition: current; Page: [xviii] other. If we look farther abroad into lands where different institutions vary the interests of individuals, we are furnished with rich illustrations of every truth our science can furnish. If we could hope to supply the interest as abundantly as society does the subject-matter of our tales, we should reckon upon their success and usefulness as certain. We will do our best.

It is our design to affix to each volume a summary of the principles of Political Economy which it contains. In this volume only we shall prefix it, in order to lead the reader to a full understanding of the purpose of the work as he advances with it.

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Summary of Principles illustrated in the first Volume.

Wealth consists of such commodities as are useful,—that is, necessary or agreeable to mankind.

Wealth is to be obtained by the employment of labour on materials furnished by nature.

As the materials of nature appear to be inexhaustible, and as the supply of labour is continually progressive, no other limits can be assigned to the operations of labour than those of human intelligence? And where are the limits of human intelligence?

Productive labour being a beneficial power, whatever stimulates and directs this power is beneficial also.

Many kinds of unproductive labour do this. Many kinds of unproductive labour are therefore beneficial.

All labour for which there is a fair demand is equally respectable.

Labour being a beneficial power, all economy of that labour must be beneficial.

Labour is economized,

I. By Division of Labour;-—in three ways.

1. Men do best what they are accustomed to do.

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2. Men do the most quickly work which they stick to.

3. It is a saving of time to have several parts of a work going on at once.

Labour is economized,

II. By the use of machinery, which

1. Eases man's labour.

2. Shortens man's labour; and thus, by doing his work, sets him at liberty for other work.

Labour should be protected by securing its natural liberty: that is,—

1. By showing no partiality.

2. By removing the effects of former partiality.

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There are few climates in the world more delightful to live in than that of the south of Africa. The air of the mountains behind the Cape of Good Hope is pure and wholesome; and the plains which stretch out towards the north at a great height above the sea, are fertile in native plants when uncultivated, and richly repay the toil of the farmer. The woods are remarkable for the variety of trees and shrubs, and there are as many animals which may serve for food or for beasts of burden as in this country. These advantages would lead numbers of our countrymen to settle in southern Africa, who now go elsewhere, if it were not for one great drawback. It is not that there are beasts of prey; for lions, leopards, and panthers, may be kept away from a settlement by the use of proper precautions: it is that a race of men, more fierce than wild beasts, and full of cunning, inhabit the mountains on the northern frontier of the European settlements, Edition: current; Page: [4] and descend, from time to time, upon the lonely farms or small villages scattered over the plain, and slaughter the inhabitants, burn their dwellings, and carry off their cattle and their goods. It is nearly impossible to guard against the attacks of these savages; and as a considerable force is required to resist them, it is no wonder that settlers are disposed to sacrifice many advantages of climate, soil, and productions, rather than be subject to the continual dread of a visit from the Bushmen, as these people are called. The settlements towards the northern frontier are therefore few and small, and consist of those whose poverty induces them to brave danger, and whose courage is improved by constant exercise.

The Bushmen were the original possessors of much of the country about the Cape, which the British and the Dutch have since taken for their own. The natives were hunted down like so many wild beasts. This usage naturally made them fierce and active in their revenge. The hardships they have undergone have affected their bodily make also; and their short stature and clumsy form are not, as some suppose, a sufficient proof that they are of an inferior race to the men they make war upon. If we may judge by the experiments which have been tried upon the natives of various countries, it seems probable that if Europeans were driven from their homes into the mountains, and exposed to the hardships of a savage life, they would become stunted in their forms, barbarous in their habits, and cruel in their revenge. They might, like the Bushmen, Edition: current; Page: [5] visit the sins of the first invaders upon their innocent successors, and cause as much undeserved distress as that we are about to relate.

It was in the month of September—a season of extreme heat in the climate we have described — when the inhabitants of a small British settlement in the north of the European territories of South Africa, met to consider what should be done to relieve the want to which they were suddenly reduced. The evening before, their village looked thriving, and its inhabitants gay and prosperous; and now, just when morning had dawned, they assembled to look on the ruin of their habitations, and the nakedness of their meadows, from which all the cattle had been driven away. The savages had carried off their tools and their arms, burned their little furniture with the houses, and left them nothing but the clothes they wore, and the seed which was buried in the ground. Happily, but few lives were lost, for the attack had been so sudden, that little resistance had been attempted: but yet some were gone whose services could ill be spared, even if they had not attached their companions to them by having shared the same toils, or by their several good qualities. Williams, the carpenter, was found dead among the ashes in the saw-pit ; and “Humby had been slaughtered on the threshold of the new hut he was building on his little farm. Some of the children, too, had perished in the flames; but the loss of life was found to be much less than every one had supposed before the numbers were called over. The most general and Edition: current; Page: [6] eager inquiries were for the safety of Captain Adams, and of Mr. and Mrs. Stone and their child, who were all alive and unhurt.

Mr. Stone was the best-educated man in the settlement, and was therefore much valued as a chaplain and teacher, as well as in his character of a practical farmer. His wife was an amiable, strong-minded woman, who assisted her husband in his labours abroad and at home. She was, by common consent, called the Lady of the settlement; but she refused the title; not because she was not really a lady, but because she thought there was no reason for such a distinction in a place where all were obliged to exert their own power for their own subsistence. She had one child, a girl of three years old.

Mr. Adams was called Captain only because he, in a manner, took the direction of the affairs of the settlement. Having been long accustomed to the climate, and acquainted with all the peculiarities of the country, he was well qualified to advise respecting the proceedings of his neighbours, who looked up to him as if he had really been what they called him, and had a captain's authority over them. It was he who now assembled them under the shelter of a few trees which grew in a nook between two hills.

When they met, they looked on one another, and no one seemed disposed to speak. The captain was about to break silence, when the sobbing of one of the women who had lost her child, and the wailing of the carpenter's widow, affected him so much that he could not command Edition: current; Page: [7] his voice. Mr. Stone, who was remarkable for his self-command, next came forward, and said that the friends around him had been called together that they might determine what measures should be taken for their safety and subsistence; and that it appeared to him that the right way to begin was by addressing God in a spirit of resignation for what they had lost, and of thankfulness for what remained. This was the readiest means of consoling the mourners who were among them, and of so calming the minds of all, as that they might deliberate soberly, and judge wisely in an extremity so awful.

To this there was a general assent; and all heads were bowed, and all sounds, except the voice of Mr. Stone, hushed in prayer.

When this was over, and a pause had succeeded, the captain observed that the first consideration of every man among them must be to secure food and shelter,—food for the present day, and shelter for perhaps one night only: for the next question was, whether they should remain in the settlement and build up its ruins as well as they could, or set out southwards with the hope of finding a safer resting-place, or aid from their countrymen. In the first place, then, he must declare his hope that every individual would lay aside all selfish thoughts and come forward to say what provisions remained in his hands or upon his portion of ground.

Mr. Stone offered an antelope which had been snared the day before, and fastened within an inclosure which the savages had not entered. Edition: current; Page: [8] He feared that but little was left of his first crop of fruit, and that the next would not be ripe for some weeks; but said, that whatever remained should be carried to any appointed spot. Campbell, the herdsman, said he had not a beast left of all the flocks he had charge of; but he would venture to follow on the track of the savages for a few miles, and if a stray ox or sheep should be left behind, it should be in the camp before nightfall. Upon this, two or three men offered to go out hunting if weapons were furnished; and others proposed fishing, if they had but tackle.

“This is all very well,” said the captain, who suspected that neither weapons nor tackle were to be had; “ but our object is to find out what food is actually in our possession.”

Alas! this was soon made out. There was only Mr. Stone's antelope, a few oranges, grapes, and figs; some eggs which were found near the roosts, and some fowls which began to appear again after having been scared away by the fires. This was all the provision that could be collected for fifty-four persons.

“It is clear, then,” said the captain, “that the greater number of us must disperse in search of food, and that all considerations of removal must be deferred till tomorrow, at least. We are in no condition to travel this day. But our night's shelter must also be thought of. Let any one speak who has a plan to propose.”

Here again there was a pause, for every one was wishing that poor Williams, the carpenter, Edition: current; Page: [9] was among them. At length, Robertson, a farmer said,

“If we could find up tools enough, we might have a sort of roof over our heads before night, for I believe there are several here who have been used, like myself, to handle a hatchet, though not as a regular business, like poor Williams who is gone. But if we cannot have tools, I see nothing for it but to sleep under the open sky. It is damp in the woods; and besides, the beasts would couch in our neighbourhood, and the women and children would not sleep for their roaring, even supposing we men could.”

“ The nights are frosty,” said Mr. Stone; “ it is dangerous to sleep unsheltered after such hot days. Who has a hatchet to produce?”

Not one was forthcoming, and each looked at his neighbour in dismay.

A labourer then proposed that a party of two or three should explore the pass of the mountains to the east, and see whether there were caves, or any places in the rock which might be covered in with boughs and rushes so as to make a convenient sleeping-place.

“Excellent!” cried the captain. “And lest this plan should fail us, let another company go into the wood, and try whether we cannot get possession of some stout branches, though we have no tools. Some must have snapped in the wind last week, I should think; and so dry as the weather has been for many weeks, some will yield to force, if we put our strength into Edition: current; Page: [10] our hands. We must remember that our hands are our tools to-day, and we must ply them well.”

“I do not see,” said Mr. Stone, “why the weakest should be idle. Cannot the children pluck dry grass and brushwood to make fires round our sleeping-place?”

“My child shall do her part,” said Mrs. Stone. “She shall look for eggs about the roost; and some of the boys and I will gather the fruit and cook the antelope, and whatever game may be brought in.”

“And I,” said her husband, “will see that the bodies of those we have lost are buried without delay, and with proper respect. Let the mourners of their families follow me.”

When Mr. Stone and about eight of the company had retired, the captain proceeded to appoint to the others their various tasks. His office of superintendent was enough for him. His advice and help were wanted every moment; for it was no easy matter to perform tasks, all the materials for which were wanting.

First of all, Campbell, the herdsman, was sent with two of Robertson's labourers to follow the Bushmen, and pick up any stray lamb or wearied beast which might have been left behind. They looked round wistfully for a noose, thinking that they might snare an antelope by the way; but not a thread of cordage was left. They were obliged to be content with a stout cudgel each, which they took from the trees as they passed.

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Jack, the tanner's man, set off with two companions up the pass in search of a sleeping-place; while his master, who was accustomed to go into the woods to obtain bark for tanning, guided a party of labourers to a tree of remarkably hard and tough wood which he had barked and stripped of its branches, of which he thought tools of a rude kind might be made. It occurred to him also that the want of ropes might be supplied by thongs of leather tanned and prepared according to the manner of the natives; and he wished, therefore, to proceed upon the antelope's skin without delay. So his object was to obtain hard wood to make a rude sort of tools, and bark for tanning.

Hill, the barber-surgeon, had explored the whole neighbourhood in search of herbs for his medical purposes; and he told of a pool of remarkably fine water, about two miles off, which abounded with carp. They had only to pass a net through the water, he said, and they would soon catch enough to feed their company. This might be true, but where was the net? Hill could not furnish one; but he could tell how one might be obtained within a short time. He could shew where flax grew in abundance; and if two or three clever pairs of hands would help him, the fibres might be dried and pulled out and twisted and woven into a net, and in three days they might have a plentiful meal of fish. Hill's wife and her sister Kate, and the three children, went with him about this business.

“If they had but left us our dogs,” said Arnall, Edition: current; Page: [12] a great sportsman and one of the partners of the store or shop where all the commodities of the settlement were exchanged,—“if they had but left us our dogs, we might have started game in abundance.”

“And much use it would be of to us,” replied his partner, Mr. Duan, “when we have no guns to bring it down.”

“I shot a partridge without a gun, the other day,” said George Prest, the butcher's son. “Mr. Arnall laughed at my bow and arrows then; but perhaps he would like such an one now very well.”

“If you will bring me such an one to-morrow, my boy,” said Arnall, “you shall have the first bird I bring down.”

“I am afraid your arrows are not strong enough to kill a hare,” said Dunn. “If you help me to a hare, you shall have her skin to make a cap of for your bare head.”

“If your dogs will run me down a porcupine,” said the boy, “you shall have your hare and her skin into the bargain. A hedgehog's bristles are strong enough to wound a partridge, but nothing less than a porcupine quill will reach larger game.”

So saying, George ran off to beg a string of the gut of the antelope from Mrs. Stone, and to find a suitable slip of wood for a bow, and some lighter pieces for arrows, with tufts of the soft hair of the antelope, which must serve instead of feathers till a bird could be brought down. Meanwhile, Arnall climbed a hill, and whistled Edition: current; Page: [13] shrill and long for his dogs, one of which at length made his appearance, limping and wearied. Jowler had, however, sport enough in him to turn out a hedgehog, which was immediately killed, stripped of its bristles, and put away to be cooked the next day, after the manner of tim natives, if better food should fall short.

The rest of the labourers, meanwhile, were employed under the captain's direction in various tasks. Some assisted at the burial of their companions. As they had not the means of digging graves for the dead, and as it was necessary, on account of the extreme heat, not to defer the rite, the bodies were deposited together in the saw-pit, which was afterwards filled up with sand and earth. Others of the men built a sort of oven with stones; one large fiat one being placed at the bottom of a hole scooped out in the sand, and others placed upright round the sides of the hole. This was filled with burning wood till the stones were thoroughly heated; then the ashes were swept out, and the meat (which had been skinned and cut up with fragments of granite) put in, and the whole closed with a hot stone; and lastly, fire was heaped above and round the whole.

“I wonder whether it will be good,” said one of the children, who watched the whole proceeding. “There is no flour to sprinkle it with, nor yet salt. There will be very little gravy.”

“And what there is will all run out between the stones into the sand,” said another. “And what shall we eat our dinner off? We have no Edition: current; Page: [14] dishes or plates. I never had my dinner without a plate.”

“If you cannot eat without a plate,” said Mrs. Stone, “suppose you try to find or make one, instead of standing with your hands behind you. If you and your brother go into that quarry which is just opened, I should not wonder if you find a service of plates which will answer our purpose very well.”

“There is nothing there but slates,” said the boy. “They are flat enough for plates, to be sure; but they have no rim; and even Jowler's trencher had a rim.”

Being again reminded, however, that there was likely to be no gravy to run over, little Harry set off in search of a dinner service. He looked out a great many flat pieces of slate, and rubbed them so clean with dry grass, that no dust remained. His brother, meanwhile, broke stones against the hard rock, and picked out the sharpest bits to serve for knives.

When they had done this, Mrs. Stone called them to help her to gather fruit; and they climbed the trees in the orchard, where a few oranges were still hanging among the dark leaves. Some plums and apples also remained, and a purple bunch of grapes here and there upon the trailing vines. Little Betsy, their sister, had a quick ear; and while she was picking up oranges, she heard, some way off in the wood, the cry of a bird which she knew very well. So she slipped away, without being missed, to try whether she could not add something acceptable to the dessert, by the help of this bird. The Honey-cuckoo, Edition: current; Page: [15] as Betsy's friend is called, lives on the honey which the wild bees store in the hollow trunks of trees. It is sometimes called the Indicator, because by uttering its peculiar cry whenever it meets with a stock of honey, it points out the way to the honey-tree. Betsy had often followed this bird from tree to tree; and when the bees were absent, (as wild bees usually are on a sunny day,) it was her custom to place a leaf on the ground with some honey on it for the bird, and then to carry off a part of what remained. Nothing had been easier, hitherto, than to obtain and bring away this honey, which was as clear and liquid as water. Betsy brushed it out of the hollows of the wood with a painter's brush which she kept clean for the purpose; and she let it run into the white basin out of which she ate her breakfast. But now, the brush was burned and the basin gone; and when she had overtaken the bird in the wood, she did not know what to do for want of her utensils, and her guide fluttered onwards and did not like to be kept waiting. She twisted a wisp of dry grass, which did very well instead of her brush: but after she had taken possession of a leaf-full of honey, and found that it ran over and escaped between her fingers, she found she must devise a better plan or leave the honey behind. She had nothing on that she could make into a basket or basin;—no hat, no pocket; nothing but her shoes, and those she could not spare. At last, she bethought herself of marking the trees and returning for the honey when the bird should be gone: so she picked up a piece of red earth, and marked each Edition: current; Page: [16] honey-tree with a cross. When she had marked six and began to be tired, she followed the bird no farther, but sat down beside a pool of water where rushes grew in plenty, and began to weave them into a sort of basket or basin. She had been accustomed to make caps of rushes for her brothers in play, and was expert. She made just such an one now, and lined it thick with the large leaves of the fig-tree, and tied twigs crosswise over the top to keep it in shape. By the time this was done, she was rested, and made her way back merrily through the wood, delighted to find how abundant the honey was, and how well her vessel held it. On the way, it occurred to her that it would not be pleasant to eat honey by dipping the fingers into it when other persons were doing the same; and no better mode seemed to be left. She wondered whether she could make a spoon-brush, such as she had seen the natives prepare and use for taking up liquids. The plant of which this sort of brush is made grows in great abundance in those parts, and she had no difficulty in finding it. Its stem is hard and fibrous, and flat: being about two inches broad, and very thin. Betsy cut the stem off in the middle with a sharp stone, and then beat it till it was bruised so that she could separate the fibres with her fingers. When it was done, she dipped it into the honey, and found that it took up quite sufficient for a mouthful. She made six before she turned her face homewards. As she took down her honey-basket from the bough on which she had hung it, she was rather alarmed to see that the sun was getting low in Edition: current; Page: [17] the sky, and pursued her way as fast as she could; lest she should hear the roaring of wild beasts before she got out of the wood.

Just when she was quitting the shade, and going to cross the meadow, she heard a rustling in the bushes close beside her. She did not scream, but her limbs bent under her, for she expected to see a panther, or perhaps a lion, ready to spring upon her. She looked behind her for the fiery eyes which she supposed were glaring amidst the underwood. Her delight was great to see that it was the herdsman's dog—an old acquaintance, whose bark now sounded cheerily, when she had listened only for a savage growl. Campbell himself soon appeared with a lamb on his shoulder, which he had overtaken feeding by itself upon the hills.

Betsy wished him joy of his prize; but he did not answer her, and looked very melancholy.

“Has any new tiring happened?” asked the little girl. “Are Will and Richard safe?”

“Yes; they are behind, driving home a bullock; and Will has got a hare that Keeper took by the ears for us.”

“O, what good luck!” cried Betsy. “But one would not have thought it by your looks. What makes you look so gloomy?”

“Why, it seems ungrateful to say that it is this lamb,” said Campbell. “It is not that I do not like to have it back again; but it makes me pine for the rest. This morning, when I went out, I thought, as was fit, less about the poor beasts than about the folks we are going to, seeing Edition: current; Page: [18] how little prospect of food there was before them. But when I heard the bleat of this lamb, and I saw it come skipping towards me, I thought to myself, ‘Where are the rest?’ And then it seemed hard to see the very traces of them in the track, and to know what a little way they were before us, and yet to turn back and leave them to be slaughtered by those savages. I little thought when I called home the cows, and penned the sheep, last night, that I should never see one of all of them again but this poor beast.”

Little Betsy did not know what to say; and so she plucked a handful of grass for the lamb.

In a few minutes they reached the place where dinner was going forward. Though it was the first meal that day, many of the people had eaten sparingly, not knowing whether anything might be provided for the next day. When they saw the lamb, however, and heard of the bullock, they helped themselves again. They did not relish their hard-earned meal the less for the clumsy manner in which they were obliged to eat it.

Campbell would not join them till he had disposed of his charge. The fences were so injured that it was necessary to pile up all the wood that could be laid hold of to stop the gaps. This done, the herdsman cast a mournful glance at these poor remains of his droves and flocks, and sat down to refresh himself.

Mrs. Stone, and Betsy's mother, Mrs. Links, the smith's wife, had grown uneasy about the little girl, on account of her long absence: but Edition: current; Page: [19] they could not blame her when they saw what she had been doing. They bade her carry the honey and brushes to the captain, who acted as storekeeper, and receiver-general of whatever was brought in. He patted her on the head, and said she had done her part; and he moreover gave her his share of fruit, without which she would have had none, for there was not enough for everybody. The captain said that the honey should be for those who came too late for the fruit, that all might have some kind of vegetable nourishment. And as for the spoon-brushes, they were so useful that everybody must have one. So little Betsy determined to make plenty more the next day, and was quite happy.

“And now,” said the captain, “it is high time we were setting off to our sleeping-place. Jack, kindle your torch and go first, and Hill and Robertson will follow with lights. The rest of you must take care of your own families, and see that none are left behind but the few who have not returned from the woods. I will just stay to light the fire we have piled for them, and then follow you. If they do not come by the time that wood-heap is burnt, we shall not see them tonight.

So saying, the brave captain took his stand, and hurried the people away, first lighting his torch, and promising to follow soon. All the way as they went, Mr. Stone looked back, in hopes of seeing his friend advancing; but it was not till they had been settled at their sleeping-place Edition: current; Page: [20] nearly an hour, that they saw the glimmering light of his torch coming slowly up the pass between the rocks.

The sleeping-place was such an one as the whole party were very thankful to have found, though its distance (two miles) from the settlement was likely to add considerably to their daily toils. It consisted of two caverns, one within the other, sufficiently dry and open to the air to be wholesome, but not lofty enough to admit of a fire being kindled within, or even of a torch being burned there for any length of time. The inner cave, which was set apart for the women and children, had been swept out with bundles of rushes, and the floor thick-strewn with dry grass, by the men who had explored it in the morning. Mr. Stone entered it first this night, in order to satisfy himself that there was no other passage to it than from the larger cave; and when he came out, he delivered the torch to his wife, desiring her to give it into no hand less careful than her own, while her companions were laying themselves down to rest, and to return it to him before she should herself retire; for if a single spark should fall on the dry grass, they would inevitably be driven from their shelter.

“What a beautiful room!” cried some of the little children, as they opened their sleepy eyes, and saw how the sides and roof, glittering with crystals, sparkled in the torch-light.

“If they do but keep up the fire on the outside,” said one of the mothers, “we may sleep as safely and warmly as in our own houses.”

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Perhaps she would not have said this if she had known what Jack could have told, but wisely kept to himself, that he had found in that very cave traces of a lion, which had perhaps couched there the night before. Jack properly considered that this was not a sufficient objection to the place, as there were few spots in the neighbourhood where lions had not couched some time or other, and as a good fire at the entrance of the cave was always a perfect security against the attack of wild beasts. Lest others should not think so, however, he held his peace towards everybody but the captain, taking care that brushwood enough was stored to keep up a large fire till sunrise.

When the captain had joined his people, Mr. Stone offered to conduct their devotions, as he had done this morning. Standing at the entrance, between the two caverns, so that he could be heard by those within and those without, he offered thanks giving for their preservation during so eventful and perilous a day, and besought protection during the night.

He and the captain then took their station as watchers just within the outer cave, having promised that Robertson and Arnall should be called up to take their place when half the night had passed.

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Well, my friend,” said the captain to Mr. Stone, as they sat watching their fire, “how do you feel at the close of this strange day?”

“ Very much as if I were in a dream. When I look round this place and think of all that I have seen and done since morning, I can scarcely believe that we are the same people, living in the same age of the world as yesterday. We seem to have gone back in the course of a night from a state of advanced civilization to a primitive condition of society.”

“Except,” interrupted his friend, “that the intelligence belonging to a state of advancement remains.”

“True,” replied Mr. Stone; “and it is this which makes the present too good an opportunity to be lost of observing what the real wealth of society consists of, and what the unassisted labour of man can do towards producing that wealth.”

“I wish,” said the captain, “that the people in England, who think that wealth consists in gold, and silver, and bank notes, would come here, and see how much their money is worth in our settlement. A thousand sovereigns would not here buy a hat, nor a roll of bank notes a loaf of bread. Here, at least, money is not wealth.

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“Nor any where else,” said Mr. Stone, “as we may see by putting a very simple case. Put a man with a bag of gold into an empty house, in England or anywhere else, and he will starve in a week, unless he is allowed to give his gold in exchange for what will supply his wants. But give a man, who has not a shilling, a room well stocked with meat, and bread, and beer, and he has wealth enough to maintain him for a week or a fortnight, or as long as his provision lasts. And this is a test which holds good all the world over.”

“And yet gold and silver may be called riches,” said the captain, “while they procure us things of greater value than themselves.”

“Certainly: they are, as long as they can be made use of, a part of wealth, though only one, and that not the greatest part. Wealth is made up of many things—of land, of houses, of clothes, furniture, food, and of the means (whether gold and silver, or anything else) by which these things may be obtained. Whatever lives, or grows, or can be produced, that is necessary, or useful, or agreeable to mankind, is wealth.”

“ Then our settlement,” said the captain, “is not stripped of all its property. We have some wealth left.”

“Poor as we are,” said his friend, “we are richer than if we were in the midst of the sandy desert to the north of us, with a waggon full of gold in our possession. We have here what gold could not buy in such a place, food and shelter.”

“And other things too,” said the captain.

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“We have clothing, for flax grows in the woods, and there are plenty of animals within reach, whose skins can be dried and cleaned to make us cloaks or beds, or tanned for shoes and caps and aprons for our workmen. We have furniture, for there is plenty of timber in the woods to make tables and chairs. We have———”

“Stay,” interrupted his friend, “you are getting on too fast. All these things are likely to become ours, I grant you; but before we can call them our own,—before they become wealth to us, something must be added which we have not yet taken into consideration. You forget that there is no wealth without labour; and labour must be applied before the commonest productions can become wealth.”

“True,” replied the captain. “The flax must be gathered, and dried, and hackled, and woven, before it will make a shirt; and the animals must be caught, and a great deal of labour be spent upon their skins before they become fit for clothing or bedding; and the timber must be felled and sawn, and the pieces put skilfully together, before we possess it in the form of tables and chairs. But surely the case is different with food, of some kinds at least. There is fish in the pond, and fruit on rite tree, ready made for man's use. Man spends no labour on the fruit that grows wild in such a climate as this; and yet we daily find that it is wealth to us.”

“I beg your pardon,” said Mr. Stone. “There is the labour of gathering it. An orange is of no Edition: current; Page: [25] use to any man living unless he puts out his hand to pluck it. And as for the fish in the pond,—think of the carp that Hill told us of this morning. They are no wealth to us till we can catch them, though the pool is within reach, and they belong to nobody else.”

“We should have had them by this time if we had but got a net,” said the captain.

“The net is one thing wanting, certainly,” said his friend, “but labour is another. If the net were now lying ready on the bank, we should be no better for the fish, unless some one took the trouble of drawing them out of the water. I do not say that unassisted labour will furnish us with all that we want; but I do say that nothing can be had without the exertion of getting it; that is, that there is no wealth without labour.”

“True,” said the captain. “Even the manna in the wilderness would have been of no more use to the Hebrews than the carp in the pool to us, if they had not exerted themselves to gather it up. Food was never yet rained into the mouth of any man.”

“And if it had been,” said Mr. Stone, “he must have troubled himself to hold back his head and open his mouth. So you see what conclusion we come to, even in an extreme case.”

“But with all our labour,” said the captain, “how little we can do in comparison with what is done for us! Labour may be necessary to make the productions of Nature useful to us; but how much greater are the powers of Nature Edition: current; Page: [26] in preparing them for us! To look hack no farther than to-day,—the antelope could not have been food for us unless haman hands had prepared it; but how much was done beforehand! It was nourished, we know not how, by the grass it fed upon; it was made, we know not how, fit food for our bodies: and our bodies were so formed as to be strengthened by this food. Neither do we understand how fire acts upon the flesh so as to make it tender; or even how wood in its turn nourishes the fire. All that human labour has done was to bring together the wood, and the fire, and the animal, and then to eat the food prepared. Nature did the rest.”

“The case was the same with little Betsy's treat of honey,” added Mr. Stone. “The earth, and the air, and the dew, had nourished the flowers from which the honey was collected: the bees were curiously formed and animated, so that they could gather and store the honey; and the hollows of the tree so made as to hold it. Then again, the rushes, and the twigs, and the leaves, were all fit for the use Betsy made of them; her business was to bring them together in a particular manner so as to make a basket. And thus it is in every case. And even where we seem to make the materials, we only bring together simple materials to make compound ones. We say that the materials of a rush basket are not made by human labour; but that the materials of a paper basket are made by human labour; but though paper is made of linenrags, Edition: current; Page: [27] those rags are made of flax which grows out of the ground. So that Nature still works at the bottom.”

“In the same way,” said the captain, “we say” that the material of a hare-skin waistcoat is not produced by human labour, but that the velvet one of a gentleman of fashion is altogether made by human hands; but still Nature works at the bottom, as you say; for velvet is woven of silk spun by a worm.”

“True” said Mr. Stone; “and thus far only is the labour of man appointed to go. He works with Nature, and his only way of doing so is by motion. He moves her materials together; but how they act upon one another he does not know. You put your torch of wood into the flame, and it blazes. Robertson lets the seed fall into the ground, and it sprouts; he pulls up a root, and it withers. Hill applies certain herbs to a wound, or gives certain medicines, and his patients are cured; or, if they die, he does not know how to prevent it. Fulton dips and rubs his leather in a certain preparation of bark, and it becomes soft and fit for use. His mother puts flour and salt and barm together, and the dough works; she places it in a great heat, and it becomes fit for food. So man brings materials together; but Nature first furnishes them, and then makes them act upon one another.”

“It seems but little that man can do,” said the captain; “but yet that little is all-important to him.”

“Since it is necessary to him,” said Mr. Edition: current; Page: [28] Stone, “it becomes great; and indeed it may be said that there are no bounds to what man can do, since there seem to be no bounds to the powers of Nature. Look what has been done! There may have been, I doubt not there was, a time when the founders of nations could do nothing more than gather the wild fruits of the earth, and find shelter in caves; and now, the successors of these very men produce merchandize, and build ships, and rear splendid buildings, and make roads over mountains, and do a thousand things which would have appeared miracles to their forefathers: and all this time, the wisest men are aware that labour may be employed in a multitude of ways of which we yet know nothing.”

“I should like our people to remain in this settlement,” said the captain, “that we might observe how fast they will advance from the primitive state to which we are reduced, to that in which their countrymen are in England.”

“They will advance rapidly,” replied Mr. Stone; “because they know how to apply their labour. They know what improvements they would aim at, instead of having to try experiments. I hope we shall all stay, for I am curious to see how much may be done by pure labour; and pure labour is our only resource till we can get tools from Cape Town.”

“It will take a long time to do that,” said the captain: “but I am not uneasy. The Bushmen know well enough that nothing more is to be had from us; and we are therefore safe from another attack till we shall have gathered some Edition: current; Page: [29] property about us again. Do you know, my dear friend, nothing has given me so much satisfaction to-day as seeing your wife and yourself in such good spirits. None of our people had so much to lose in the way of property as yourselves,—for I, being a single man, do not care much about those matters. You neither of you seem to be downcast about your losses.”

“Nor are we,” replied Mr. Stone; “but you must remember how different it is to lose everything in such a place as this, and in England. Here there are so few inhabitants, and the natural productions are in such plenty, that we know we have only to work, under the blessing of Providence, to provide ourselves and our child with all that is necessary now, and with comforts and luxuries by and by. Besides, there is here no loss of rank, or sacrifice of independence, because all are in the same condition. It could not happen so in England; and if any calamity should there oblige us to descend to a lower rank in society, or, worse still, to be dependent for our subsistence upon others, we should try, I hope, to be patient, but we could not be so happy as you have seen us to-day.”

“You have both good health, and industry, and contentment,” said the captain; “and they are exactly the qualities we all have most need of just now.”

“Thank God! we have always had cause for content,” replied his friend; “and as for industry, the only difference is, that we must now work in another way. We have always declared Edition: current; Page: [30] that none deserved to be maintained who would not labour, Before, we worked most with our heads; now we must work with our hands as well. And we are both willing.”

“And in order to be fit for labour,” said the captain, “you must sleep; so let us pile some more wood on the fire, and then rouse our watchmen.”

So when they had arranged the time and place for a general consultation on the affairs of the settlement, the next morning, the gentlemen gave up their charge to Robertson and Arnall, and betook themselves to rest.


During the first day of the troubles of our settlers, before the impression of their terror was worn out, and when it remained doubtful whether their immediate wants could be supplied, there was a general concern for the good of the community, and forgetfulness of petty personal considerations. None but the little children were heard that day to cry, “what will become of me?” One little boy complained, as we have seen, that there was no rim to his plate; and it was said that one baby girl lifted up her voice in weeping for her doll: but the grown children of Edition: current; Page: [31] the society seemed to have laid aside their childishness on so great an occasion. It was not long in appearing again, however; for amidst the winding course of human life, character is sure to peep out and show itself at every turn, however it may occasionally be hidden. There was as great a variety of habits and dispositions among these settlers as there is among the same number of persons all the world over: and when the first fears and difficulties were surmounted, this variety began to be quite as evident as before any misfortune had befallen. It would have been a curious study to an observer,—it was so to Mr. Stone,—to mark the different department of the people who attended the morning's consultation on the general state of their affairs. Some were in high spirits, excited by the novelty of their situation and full of a spirit of enterprise. These were principally labourers, who had had little or nothing to lose, or young men whose activity was greater than their love of property. Some were gloomy and panic-struck: the old and the weak, whose terrors made them equally afraid to attempt, unprovided, a journey southwards, and to remain within reach of the Bushmen. Some were more careful of their own dignity than of all besides, ready to plead their rights, to refuse any employment they might fancy degrading, and to resent any hint that the less was now said of distinction of ranks the better.

At the head of these was Arnall, the storekeeper, who had always been disliked for his Edition: current; Page: [32] haughtiness. He had complained of his partner, Mr. Dunn, ever since their first connexion, for being on such familiar terms with the customers of all ranks who came to their shop; and it spoke well for Mr. Dunn that this was the only fault of which his fastidious partner did complain. Arnall was as obsequious as any man to the public as a whole. No petitions for custom were so full of compliments and protestations as is; but he of was not the less insolent for this. His insolence was particularly evident this morning, when the captain was offering his advice respecting the manner in which the various members of the society should employ their industry. Arnall was anxious to be sent out shooting, which he thought a very gentlemanly amusement; but as he had no gun, and had never practised with bows and arrows, it was thought best that he should yield the sport to the boys who were skilful at it, and assist, with all the hands that could be spared from other occupations, in carrying on the trenching, on which the growth of the crops depended. In very dry. seasons in that climate, there is no means of preserving the young corn but by digging trenches from the neighbouring streams through the fields. A large trench, from which several smaller ones were to branch out, had been nearly finished in Mr. Stone's field when the savages made their attack; and as the spring rains (for our autumn is their spring) were not expected for a month or more, it was of the utmost importance that water should be conveyed to the crops. Even if Edition: current; Page: [33] the settlers should wish to remove, they could not stir till they had provision for their journey, as, in a country like that, there was nothing to depend on by the Way. Many were eager to be employed in a work of such pressing importance: but not so Mr. Arnall.

“Do you actually mean, captain,” said he, “that I am to work in a ditch with ploughmen and hedgers? I am as willing as any body to do my part; but I assure you I have not been used to such companionship.”

“Nor have I,” said Mr. Stone, “yet I am going about my work without delay.”

“But it is contrary to all my habits,” persisted Arnall.

“Not more so than to your partner, Mr, Dunn's,” said the captain; “and there he is at work already. He and Jack made a very pretty spade between them this morning, of a piece of hard wood, which they sawed and burnt into shape with the fragments of the saw left in the pit, and with heated stones. They will give you that spade and make another, if you will go and ask them. Then you can work by yourself, which will suit your dignity better than helping those men who are turning out the clods so cleverly by crossing the stakes they have taken from the fence.”

“You must excuse me, indeed,” replied Arnall. “I must beg some other employment. Could not I be your messenger to Cape Town, and send out tools and all that you want? I shall have pleasure in undertaking the journey, Edition: current; Page: [34] and will represent your case forcibly to the Governor.”

“I am afraid, Sir, you are scarcely the man to be the representative of a hard-working agricultural community as ours must be now. There is a rival candidate in the person of Richard the labourer. We can ill spare him; but he is a hardy traveller on foot, and is, besides, a good judge of implements, which, by your own statement, you cannot be for want of experience. Stand aside, Sir, if you please, for my time is precious this morning. Choose. Your own occupation; but remember that you must find your own food unless you do our work.”

“The tables are turned, you ” see, “said one of the labourers to Arnall as he was retiring. “You held your head very high a week ago, because you had a genteeler employment than ours, as you thought. And now that 'we are all put to the test, see what a poor figure you make! I always said a farmer ought to rank above a shopkeeper.”

“Hey-day! what is that I hear?” said the captain. “Let me tell you, you are qute in the wrong, my friend. What our society is now, is no test of the value of its members a week ago. Because we cannot have a shop to-day, it does not follow that a shop was not a good thing when we had goods to buy and sell. If Mr. Arnall transacted his business properly, he deserved as well of society as the farmer who did his part honestly. As far as their labour is concerned, they rank equally.”

“But farmers do not give themselves airs like Edition: current; Page: [35] some shopkeepers I have known,” persisted the labourer; “and I see no gentility in such airs.”

“Nor I,” said the captain; “ but I have seen farmers as haughty with their men as any shopkeeper. All this has nothing to do with the question. A man may make himself liked or disliked by his manners; but they do not affect his rank as a labourer in the community.”

Arnall did not much relish being called a labourer in any sense, having a very narrow notion of the meaning of the word. Some others who were present fell into the same mistake, as we shall see by-and-by. Business was so pressing just now, however, that there was no time for conversation: but many minds were active that day in thinking over what was happening, while the hands were busily employed in various tasks.

It was soon settled that no removal should be thought of till after the rains, at any rate, as the settlers could not hope to establish themselves elsewhere in the interval, and were unwilling to desert their fields after all the labour which had been spent upon them. With heart and goodwill, therefore, men, women, and children set about improving their condition, determined to try what industry could do to make up for a scarcity of hands, and an almost total deficiency of tools.

Betsy's father, the smith, was in high spirits at having found the fragments of the large saw. Of one part he believed a serviceable hand-saw might be made, and of another a hatchet, if he Edition: current; Page: [36] could but fix handles go them. This he thought he could do by burning grooves in two pieces of wood which he fixed at each end of the fragment, and tying them on with thongs of the leather cordage we have mentioned, the thongs being passed from one end to the other through holes also burned in the wood. Fulton, the tanner, was, meanwhile, twisting and tanning his thongs as expeditiously as possible, for as many were wanted as he could prepare. They could not even make houses without his help, for cordage must now supply the place of nails.

There was some deliberation about what these houses were to be made of. They were to be only temporary sheds to sleep in, to save the extra labour of walking two miles up the pass every night to their cave. It was evident that they could not be built like their former habitations with timbers. Till tools should arrive, this was impossible.—Harrison, the brickmaker and potter of the settlement, (for in several instances two somewhat similar employments were undertaken by one man,) was urgent to be allowed to begin brick-making, as the clay-pits were open, and stones and wood were all the implements he should require. But a quicker method was devised, and Harrison was to build in a new fashion. The huts of the natives were composed of reeds, bound together and plastered over with clay, inside and out. The roofs were covered in with branches of trees and dry grass. Such were to be the sheds of the settlers.

Thus there was work for everybody. The Edition: current; Page: [37] men were some digging, some tanning, some smoothing a space among the trees for the sheds, for, as no foundations could be dug, it was necessary to make the trees themselves the corner-posts. The boys were busy scooping out and working the clay, or making bows and arrows, or cutting reeds. The women were preparing flax or cooking the dinner, or, with their little girls, collecting brushwood and dry grass for the fires, and to thatch the sheds with. The captain meanwhile went about from one party to another, ready to advise, and encourage, and assist, whereever he could.

One little party, however, escaped his notice, and that of everybody else. Little Betsy had taken her cue from what the captain had said the night before about her spoon-brushes and her basket. She could teach her little companions to make spoon-brushes, while she fancied that, with help from her brothers, she could make what was wanted much more, a strong substantial basket. There was a difficulty about carrying away the earth from the trench; and it occurred to her that, in the absence of barrows and all means of making them, it would be a good thing to have baskets which would take it all away in time, though it would certainly be slow work. Her brothers and she collected twigs in the wood, and she went for rushes to the waterside, and then they sat down to their work.

Having found, the day before, that she had no means of fastening the bottom in firm, she did not attempt to make a basket that would stand. Edition: current; Page: [38] She bent the twigs into the same shape she had been accustomed to make, only on a much larger scale, so that the basket, when finished, would look very like a sieve. She was particularly careful to fasten the ends of the twigs firmly to the stronger ones that made the rim, and to twist in the handles so that they would not easily give way. She tied the twigs wherever they crossed with bands of rushes, and then wove in the whole as closely as possible. This was not done in an hour's time. She and her companions made many attempts before they could get the twigs into any shape at all, and their fingers were scarcely strong enough to twist the rim firmly. Once, just when she thought she should succeed, the little bays left hold, saying they were tired and hungry. She was very near crying; but she thought the wiser way would be to let them rest, and find them something to eat, when they would, perhaps, help her again; for she little expected that any better assistance would come. She desired one of the boys to watch her basket lest the monkeys, which abounded in the wood, should destroy it; while, with the other brother, she looked about for wild strawberries and chesnuts. There were a few strawberries still left, and a great many chesnuts lying in the grass, and more to be had by throwing stones at the monkeys in the trees, which provoked the animals to pelt them with chesnuts in return. After a hearty laugh at these mimics, Betsy returned wtth her treasure of fruit; but the young gentleman who, tho day before, was Edition: current; Page: [39] mourning for gravy, could not, hungry as he was, cat his chesnuts unless they were roasted. Betsy cared much less about eating than about her basket; but she was a good-natured little girl, and ready to remember that her brother was younger than herself. So she advised him to run home and roast his chesnuts at the oven-fire; and told him not to come back again unless he liked. She sent a message to her mother to say that she was quite safe, and would be back before dark; but she charged Ned not to tell any body what she was busy about. Then she sent her other little companion with some chesnuts to the children who were making spoon-brushes some way off; and as soon as he was gone, she looked at her basket and sighed; for she feared she should not be able to finish it. Just then she heard some one coming through the bushes, and looking up, she saw it was Mr. Arnall. He had his hands in his pockets, and anybody would have thought by his appearance that it was a holiday in the colony.

“So you are eating chesnuts, my little girl,” said he. “Can you spare me some?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Betsy, pointing to the little heap beside her. “Will you help yourself?”

Arnall went on eating for some time in silence. “Where did you get these chesnuts?” he asked at length, when he had nearly made an end of them.

“Yonder, under the trees there.”

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“They are very good. I dare say you will be my little maid, and get me some more: and here comes your brother; I will send him to roast them by the fire.”

“You must do it yourself, if you please, sir. We are very busy.”

“Indeed! What can children like you be busy about? Basket-making! Why, that basket will never stand.”

“It is not meant to stand,” said Betsy, who began to wish her visitor would go away and leave her to her business.

Arnall sat idly watching the little work-people, till seeing that greater strength of finger was what they wanted, he offered his services, which Betsy was very willing to accept. He became more interested as the affair went on, and continued his assistance till the framework was complete and the rim secure.

“And now,” said Betsy, jumping up joyfully, “now I will get you some chesnuts and welcome. I can easily finish the rest, for the weaving part will soon be done; and I should never have got so far without you.”

As soon as she was gone, Arnall took up the remainder of the twigs, and began another basket. He was really ashamed of doing nothing, and was glad to have found an employment which did not reduce him to toil with labourers or to provide his own dinner. He flattered himself that Betsy was saving his dignity by procuring his food; while she, in the innocence of her Edition: current; Page: [41] heart, thought he was working as much for her as she for him, and was grateful to him accordingly.

When it began to grow dusk, the little party in the wood made haste to gather up their materials and be gone. Arnall was no coward, as some very haughty people are. He had been long accustomed to the dangers of the woods, and if he had had his gun, would have been as ready as any man to make a defence against wild men or beasts: but it was only prudent, as he was unarmed, to leave the shade before night-fall. He did not choose to return to the settlement in company with the children; neither would he carry any of their goods. He lingered a while, till they were some way before him, and then appeared with his usual lounging gait, and his hands in his pockets. Of those who had time to observe him, some smiled at the unsuitability of his appearance to his circumstances, and others were indignant at his seating himself to eat that which they supposed he had done nothing to earn.

“Pardon me, sir,” said the captain; “but I hope you have your dinner in your pockets, or I am afraid you will have none. Our provisions are the right of those who work for them.”

“Mr. Arnall helped me to make my basket,” said little Betsy, “and he has got a great way with another; so I hope he may have the dinner I should have wanted if I had not found the chesnuts, and some for his own share besides.”

“Hold your tongue, child,” cried the gentleman, Edition: current; Page: [42] who was quite above owing his meal to the request of a little girl. “Who has any business with what I have been doing? Things have come to a pretty pass when one must account to anybody that asks for the use of one's time and hands.”

“By sitting down to table, sir”———

“To grass, you mean,” said Arnall. “We are in a fair way to eat in Nebuchadnezzar fashion, I think. Was ever a meal so served before?”

“If you will make us a table, we shall very thankfully accept it,” said the captain. “Meanwhile, as I was saying, by asking food, you demand the wages of labour, as we have agreed to live by the natural law, that food cannot be obtained without labour. You are accountable to us in no other way than all labourers are accountable to those who pay them wages. Little Betsy has settled your account with us: allow me, therefore, to help you to a lump (I wish I could say a slice) of lamb; or would you prefer hare?”

While the gentleman was picking his bone in silence, wondering when he should again be blessed with a knife and fork, Betsy placed beside him a pretty dessert of wild strawberries on a leaf.

He seemed barely to thank her, but began to resolve that he would either find some mode of being more useful, and thus feeling himself on equal terms with other people, or take himself off, where he need be accountable to nobody.

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The heat of the weather was, as we have said, very oppressive during the middle of the day. It was hard work to dig in the trench, for the badness of the tools more than compensated for the lightness of the soil. The labourers, fully aware of the importance of conveying water to the crops, toiled most diligently through all hours of the day, till it became evident that such exertion was injurious to their strength. A new regulation was made, according to which they began work two hours earlier in the morning, and rested in the shade for two hours at noon. Some slept, while others, who were stronger or more industrious, employed themselves in some light occupation, either preparing flax with the women, or looking for honey or fruit, or cutting the reeds of proper lengths, and binding them in bundles ready for the builder, or helping to make bows and arrows. This was the most pleasant and refreshing time of the day. It was the only time for conversation; for in working hours they were too busy, and at night too weary to enjoy it. Mr. Stone was always ready for cheerful talk at these intervals, both because he was sociable, and because he knew it to be a very important thing to keep up the spirits of the people by all such natural and proper means. A few days after the labours of the settlement were got into Edition: current; Page: [44] train, he was sitting with a party of companions on the trunk of a. tree which served as a workbench, and which was drawn within the shadow of a noble chesnut. He was making sandals for some of the people whose shoes were worn out, by fastening leather thongs to slips of wood made as nearly the size of the foot as the saw could bring them. Some of the men bad been for walking barefoot; thinking shoes too great a luxury for the present state of their affairs: but Mr. Stone would not hear of this, on account of the venomous reptiles in the grass, from whose bite there could be no security to the barefooted. He engaged to furnish each man with sandals as his shoes wore out, till there should be leather enough to make a sort of socks with wooden soles, which would serve the purpose better still. While he was thus busied, his wife was beside him mending his coat, which had received a terrible rent. It was amusing enough at first to see her set about this new sort of tailoring; for she had neither needle, thimble, nor scissors. George had furnished her with a porcupine's quill from the stock which had been placed in his hands for his arrows. With this she pricked holes in the cloth, through which a string of flax was passed; and thus, by slow degrees, the edges of the rent were brought together. To be sure, it did not look much like a gentleman's coat after this; but, as all clothes were now worn for a covering and not for ornament, it did not much signify. Next Mrs. Stone sat Hill, sorting and picking the herbs and roots he had gathered, that he might Edition: current; Page: [45] not be without medicines in case of sickness or accidental bruises. He had also furnished a poison in which the points of the arrows were dipped, as it was found that though the bristles wounded the game, they were not strong enough to bring it down. Hill had discovered how the natives procured, from a venomous snake, poison so powerful as to destroy all animals which it could be made to reach; and having provided himself with it, he suffered no one else to touch it, for fear of accidents. George, who formed one of the party, was therefore obliged to give up his arrows as they were made, and did not receive them again till the venom was dried on their tips. All the game, as it was brought in, was given into the charge of the butcher, who carefully took out the parts round the wound the arrow had made. His wife was now plucking partridges, which had become abundant since the best way of bringing down game had been discovered. The feathers were carefully dried and preserved to answer various purposes of clothing and bedding hereafter.

While the little party were thus busily employed and sociably conversing, they saw Arnall at a distance, practising shooting with bow and arrow at a mark.

“I wonder at the captain,” said Hill, “for calling that gentleman yonder a labourer, as he did the other day.”

“Arnall himself was surprised,” said Mr. Stone; “and I do not wonder at it: but I should have expected you would allow him the title. Edition: current; Page: [46] Remember, the captain spoke of him as he had been,—a shopkeeper.”

“He led a pretty genteel life as a shopkeeper,” replied Hill. “Look at his delicate hands and his slight make, and it seems ridiculous to call him a labourer.”

“Did he not buy his goods at Cape Town, and have them brought in his waggon; and did he not purchase various productions of his neighbours in large quantities and sell them by retail?” asked Mr. Stone.

“Certainly,” replied Hill; “but there was no hard work in all this. It would have done him good to have driven his own team over the mountains, and to have stuck fast among the rocks, as many a waggoner does, unless he can put his own shoulder to the wheel.”

“I should have liked to see him kill his own meat,” added the butcher's wife, “or thresh the corn he used to sell. A heavy flail would be a fine thing to put into hands like his.”

“We are not inquiring,” replied Mr. Stone, “what sort of discipline would be good for such a man; but whether he can properly be called a labourer. You seem to think, Hill, that there is no labour but that of the hands, and that even that does not deserve the name unless it be rough and require bodily strength to a great degree.”

“I don't mean to say so,” replied Hill. “I consider that I work pretty hard, and yet my hands shew it more by being dyed with these plants than roughened by toil. And there are the straw-platters of my native town in dear old Edition: current; Page: [47] England;—the Dunstable folks labour hard enough, delicate as their work is.”

“And you, sir,” said Mrs. Prest, the butcher's wife, “have done so much, setting aside your farm, that it would be a sin to say you have not toiled night and day for us. If there was a person sick or unhappy, or if your advice was wanted any hour in the twenty-four, you were always ready to help us. But you would not call yourself a labourer, would you?“

“Certainly,” replied Mr. Stone. “There is labour of the head as well as of the hands, you know. Any man who does anything is a labourer, as far as his exertion goes.”

“The king of England is a labourer,” said Mrs. Stone. “If he does nothing more than sign the acts of parliament which are brought to him, he does a very great thing for society. Those acts cannot become law till they are so signed; and the man, whoever he be, who performs a necessary part in making laws, is a labourer of a very high order, however little trouble the act of signing may cost him.”

“Arnall did take more trouble than that, to do him justice,” said Hill. “He kept his books very well, besides purchasing and looking after and selling goods: but still I cannot think he was so useful a man as the ploughman who helps us to food; for food is the most necessary of all things.”

“A great deal of harm has been done,” said Mr. Stone, “by that notion of yours, when it has been held by people who have more power to Edition: current; Page: [48] act upon it than you. In many states, it has been a received maxim that commercial labour is inferior in value to agricultural; and agriculture has therefore been favoured with many privileges, and manufactures and commerce burdened with many difficulties. This seems to me to be a very unjust and foolish policy; for the greatest good of society cannot be attained without the union of both kinds of labour. The thresher, and the miller, and the baker, do not help to produce food like the ploughman; but they are quite as useful as he, because we could not have bread without their help. They are manufacturers, and the retail baker is engaged in commerce; but it would be absurd to say that they are on that account to be thought less valuable than the sower.”

“But is not the case different, sir, said Hill, “when things of less importance than food are in question? is not a weaver worth less than a ploughman in society?”

“Suppose,” said Mr. Stone, “that in our society, consisting of fifty-four persons, “fifty-three were engaged in tilling the ground every day and all day long, and that the other was able to prepare flax and weave it into cloth and make it into clothes. Suppose you were that one; do not you think you would always have your hands full of business, and be looked to as a very important person; and that, if you died, you would e more missed than any one of the fifty-three ploughmen?”

“Certainly,” said Hill, laughing. “But what Edition: current; Page: [49] a folly it would be to raise ten or twenty times as much corn as we could eat, and to be in want of everything else!”

“It would,” replied Mr. Stone: “and in such a case, we should be ready to pass a vote of thanks to any man who would leave the plough and turn tanner or weaver; and then we would spare another to be a tailor; and, at last, when we had gathered a good many comforts about us, we would thank another to set up a shop where we might exchange our goods. Now, would it not he ungrateful and foolish, when we had reached this point, to say that the farmers were, after all, the most valuable to us; and that they must have particular honour and particular privileges?”

“To be sure,” said Hill. “The natural consequence of such partiality would be to tempt the shopkeeper to give up his shop, and the weaver his loom, and the tailor his sheers, to go back to the plough; and then we should be as badly off as before.”

“This would be the consequence in larger states, as well,” said Mr. Stone, “if the practice of the people well,” said not wiser than the principles of the policy by which they have hitherto been governed. People buy clothes and furniture and other comforts as they have need of them, without stopping to pronounce how much less valuable they are than food.”

“All the world seems to have agreed,” said Mrs. Stone, “that the right leg is worth more than the left; and if a man had the choice which he would lose, he would probably rather part Edition: current; Page: [50] with the left: but it would be a sad waste of time to argue about which is the more useful in walking.”

“All labour, then, should be equally respected,” said Hill, “and no one kind should be set above another.”

“Nay; I was far from saying that,” replied Mr. Stone. “Our friend George, there, makes beautiful little boats out of walnut-shells, and he must have spent a good deal of trouble on his art before he could carve the prow and stern and put in the deck as he does. If he were now to set to work and make us each one within a week, he would no more have earned his dinner every day than if he should lie down and sleep for seven days. We do not want walnut-shell boats, and his ill-directed labour would be worth no more than no labour at all.”

“The captain was telling me, though,” said George, “that if I were at some place he mentioned in England, I might get a very pretty living by those same boats. He said the quality would give me five shillings a-piece for them.”

“Very likely,” said Mr. Stone; “and in that ease your labour would not be ill-directed. The rich, in any country, who have as much as they want of food and clothes and shelter, have a right to pay money for baubles, if they choose; and in such a state of things there are always labourers who, not being wanted for necessary occupations, are ready to employ their labour in making luxuries.”

“The lace-makers and jewellers and glass-cutters, Edition: current; Page: [51] and even those who spin glass for the amusement of the wealthy, are respectably employed in England, where there is a demand for their services,” observed Mrs. Stone; “but they would be sadly out of place here, and very ridiculous. All labour must be directed by the circumstances of the state of society in which it is employed; and all labour, so regulated, is equally respectable.”

“I am afraid, madam,” said Hill, “that your doctrine would go far towards doing away the difference between labour that is productive and that which is unproductive.”

“It is impossible,” replied Mr. Stone, “to do away that difference, because it is a difference of fact which no opinions can alter. It must always be as clear as observation can make it whether a man's labour produces any of the things which constitute wealth. But the respectability of labour does not depend on this circumstance. I hope you do not think it does?”

“I have been accustomed, certainly, to think productive labourers more valuable than unproductive.”

“It depends upon what you mean by the word valuable,” replied Mr. Stone. “If you mean that productive labourers add more to the wealth of the society, the very way of putting the question shews that you are right: but we may see, in the case of every civilized state, that a mixture of productive and unproductive labourers is the best for the comfort and prosperity of society.”

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“What would the English nation do,” said Mrs. Stone, “without household servants, without physicians and soldiers, and clergy and lawyers, without a parliament, without a government? If they were a nation of farmers and graziers and builders, without any unproductive labourers, they would have abundance of corn and cattle and houses; but no towns, no commerce, no law, and no king. They would be a savage nation.”

“Ours was not a savage settlement,” said George, “and we had no unproductive labourers. Everybody worked very hard.”

“However hard our people worked,” said Mr. Stone, “they were divided into productive and unproductive labourers, as the people of every civilized society are. If you will just run over a few names, we will try to divide the two classes.”

“Let us begin with the lowest,” said George. “The labourers on Robertson's farm and on yours, sir, are productive labourers, because they produce corn for ourselves, and hay for the horses, and flax for our clothes. Then there are the other servants, who have wages paid them,—the captain's errand-boy, and your maid, ma'am, who nurses the child, and kept the house clean when you had one, and Goody Fulton, who attended to Arnall's shop when he was out shooting———”

“Well: go on,” said Mr. Stone; “tell us what they produced.”

George laid down his bow to consider; but he could not think of anything produced by Edition: current; Page: [53] these last-mentioned people. He owned that however industrious and useful they might be, domestic servants were unproductive labourers. Then he went on with his list.

“Fulton, I suppose, sir, produces leather out of what was only the hide of a beast; and Harrison makes bricks out of what was only clay; and Links———let me see, what does the farrier do? He puts on horse-shoes: that is not making anything. He is unproductive, I suppose.”

“As a farrier;—but he is also a smith, and makes horse-shoes and nails, and implements of many sorts, out of what was only a lump or a bar of iron.”

“Then he is a labourer of both kinds. That is curious. And so are you, Mr. Hill. You make medicines; but when you give your advice, or bleed your patients, or shave my father on Saturday night, you are an unproductive labourer.”

“And at the same time, one of the last men we could spare,” said Mr. Stone. At which, Hill rose and bowed low.

“I am afraid my father is an unproductive labourer,” said George. “I cannot think of anything that a butcher makes.”

“Why should you say ‘afraid’?” inquired Mr. Stone. “Your father is of the same class with the captain.”

“Why, that's true,” cried George; “and there's an end of all objections to unproductive labour; for who works harder than the captain, and how should we get on without him?”

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“And how do you class yourself, my dear?” said Mrs. Stone.

“Unproductive in my pulpit and in the school-room,” replied her husband, “and productive when I am working in my field. I leave it to my friends to say in which capacity I am most useful.”

“You have cleared up the matter completely, sir,” said Hill. “We see now that the words relate to wealth and not to usefulness. I am only sorry I eve runderstood any reproach by the word unproductive; but I shall never fall into the mistake again.”

“It is as well to observe, however,” said Mr. Stone, “that the prosperity of a nation depends much on the proportion between these two classes of labourers. If it would be a bad thing to have a population that could do nothing but produce food, and clothes, and habitations, with as many other comforts and luxuries as the industry of man can supply, it would be worse by far to have more unproductive labourers among us than the labour of the productive could maintain.”

“Our settlement would soon be ruined,” observed his wife, “if we had a great many soldiers, and two or three clergymen, and four or five surgeons, and several household servants in every family. However skilful all these might be in their several ways, they would soon eat us out of house and home. In the same way the welfare of an empire depends on its productive resources being abundant enough to supply the wants and Edition: current; Page: [55] reasonable wishes of the whole people. But, my dear, what noise is that?”

The little party started to their feet as they heard the sound of a horn. For a moment they were alarmed by the fear that an enemy was upon them; but some labourers passing by informed them that the captain had ordered the horns of the bullock which had been slain to be taken care of; and had turned one to the best account by using it as a summons to call the people together. It was, from this time forward, to be blown at the hours of work, of eating, and of rising and going to rest. The two hours of repose being now over. Mr. Stone went to his work in the trench, and the little party broke up.

Chapter V.: HEART-WORK.

In a few days from this time, some of the most thoughtful of the settlers began to ponder the necessity of increasing their supplies of food. Prest, the butcher, sighed every day as he passed the ruined paddocks and saw no cattle in them for him to exercise his skill upon. “Heaven knows,” said he to his wife, “when I may have the pleasure of slaying a beast again. And as for our ever having a drove or a herd, there is no possibility of it unless we can get hides enough Edition: current; Page: [56] to make thongs for snares. Fulton says he has used up every scrap of leather, and unless we can get more, Campbell and I may both lay aside our craft, for we shall never more have droves in our fields, or smoking joints on the table.”

“We must live like savages, on roots and fruit and fish,” said his wife. “Now, fish is very good in its way; but we have had so much lately, that one might fancy it was to be Lent all the year round.”

While they were thus talking, a plan was being settled between Arnall and the captain which promised fair to supply the butcher with employment, and the paddocks with stock which might increase in time so as to employ a herdsman on the hills. This magnificent plan entered Arnall's head one day when he was thinking how he might distinguish himself in a genteel way, and shew himself a benefactor to the settlement without sacrificing his dignity.

He had once passed a pit, dug in the middle of a plain and quite empty and apparently useless. He could not make out at the time what it was for; but now he remembered having read that the natives of some countries dig pits for snaring wild animals, covering them over lightly so as to look even with the rest of the ground, that the beast may fall in unawares. He thought that he might secure antelopes in this way, or even the buffalo—fierce and strong as it is, and more difficult to deal with than the wildest bull of his own country. He could not prepare the Edition: current; Page: [57] pit with his own delicate hands, of course; and was therefore obliged to apply to the captain for leave to employ some labourers. Their help was promised as soon as the trench should be completed, which was to be in two days. Nothing must interrupt that important work, the captain said; and in the mean while they must live as well as they could on what might come in.

“Now is my time then,” thought the sportsman, “to try my new arrows, and my skill in using them; and if I fail, nobody will know but George Prest, and I can trust him for not telling. He will hold his tongue in return for my shewing him how to get the eggs.”

Here were three different schemes,—the pits for buffaloes, a new sort of arrows for smaller game, and a way of getting the enormous eggs of the ostrich,—a rich and nourishing food. Truly Arnall had exerted his wits to some purpose.

“If I succeed,” thought he, “I will give each man his due. I will own that Harrison gave me these reeds, so much stronger and more fit for arrows than the common sort. And I will thank Prest for pointing out how sharp the thigh bone of the antelope is, though he did not think of making an arrow-head of it; and Hill has the merit of the poison altogether. And then,—if the captain should say that no other man might have put these things together so ingeniously and made so good a use of them,—why, then I need not mind their laughing at me as they did last week, because I would not work in the trench. What a pity I cannot climb trees! for Edition: current; Page: [58] then I might get these eggs without any body's help.”

Thus thinking, Arnall went out into the plain in search of game. He hid himself among some bushes till he saw a herd of buffaloes coming in sight. They ran for some way, tossing their horned heads in the air and lashing their tails; then some among them stopped to graze. Arnall determined that if a stray one came within shot, he would take aim at it; but it was long before any of the herd seem disposed to afford him the opportunity, and when they did, they seemed likely to give him too much of it. They all set off again at once, and exactly in the direction of the bushes where the sportsman lay. He knew something of what it was to be trodden and gored by a buffalo, as he had seen more than one man who had been maimed by such an accident, and had heard of the deaths of others: so when he saw the herd coming on in full trot, he had half a mind to try whether he could not really climb a tree. If he had had three minutes more, he would certainly have made the attempt; but it was now too late; and all he could do was to crouch in the thicket, and take his chance for escape. Only two entered the bushes, and they passed quickly through, and left poor Arnall breathing space again. He soon recovered from his terror; for, as we have said, he was not a timid man. Looking out upon the plain, he saw that two of the herd were again grazing, and now within bow-shot. Thinking this too good an opportunity to be lost, he let fly one of his Edition: current; Page: [59] precious arrows. It struck the animal in the flank, but was not strong enough to pierce the thick hide. It broke and fell to the ground, while the startled beast, now tossing his horns and now goring the ground beneath him, turned his flight first one way and then another, and at length followed his companions at full speed.

“There is one arrow gone to no purpose,” thought Arnall; “but I think I can recover the head. I must aim at a thinner hide next time.”

He looked for and found the fragments of his arrow, and took his station, waiting to see what game would next come by. In the course of a few hours, several flocks of ostriches passed within sight, but at a great distance. As Arnall watched these enormous birds, running swiftly with their wings outspread in the wind, like sails to help their progress, he longed to be near enough to fix an arrow in the tender part beneath the wing where it is easiest to wound them; but they kept their distance; and he was obliged to content himself with vowing a warfare against them for the sake of their eggs, if they would not let themselves be caught.

At last, he was rewarded by the approach of a troop of antelopes of the largest kind, called Elands. As he looked at their majestic form, (like that of the ox, only more slender,) and measured them with his eye, he felt that if he could secure one, he would have made a good day's work of his hunting. Their length was, as nearly as he could measure by the eye, seven or eight feet, and their height between four and Edition: current; Page: [60] five; and he knew that the weight of each was seldom less than seven or eight hundred pounds. He counted fifteen of them, and thought it would be hard if not one of such a number should fall into his power. They came nearer, sometimes trotting all together, sometimes dispersing on the plain, and then collecting again. It seemed a wearisome time to Arnall, till, after many freaks and gambols, the whole herd began to graze very near him. He laid an arrow on the string, and disposed two more close beside him, that he might shoot one after another as quickly as possible. Whizz! went the first, and struck the nearest animal in the neck. While it was staggering away to a little distance, and before the alarm had well been given, he shot again and wounded another in the flank. The poor beast took flight, but Arnall knew that if the poison did its work, the run would be soon over. A third arrow which he despatched fell short, for the troop were making their escape full speed. Arnall came out of his hiding-place with the sort of stone-hatchet that he used for a knife, and seating himself on the head of his victims, which were quivering in the agonies of death, he cut their throats. As soon as they were quite dead, he carefully cut out all the parts round the poisoned arrow-head, and then prepared to carry home his trophies of victory. It was necessary to lose no time, if the carcasses were to be housed before night; so, severing the horns and gathering up his weapons, he hastened home. There was great joy in the settlement at his success; Edition: current; Page: [61] and Prest, the butcher, had soon formed his party, and prepared the hurdles on which the prey was to be dragged home. They took torches with them, to guard against the dangers of being benighted; and it was well they did; for the procession did not reappear till two hours after dark, and reported that the howlings of wild beasts were heard, not far off, the whole way as they were returning. Not the youngest child in the settlement went to rest that night till fires were lighted round the carcasses and the dogs set to watch.

The next day, all hands that could be spared were employed in preparing this new supply of meat for being preserved. There was a pool of very salt water in the neighbourhood—such as occurs very frequently in that part of the world—and the salt which had been procured from it by evaporation was rubbed into the meat as the butcher cut it into strips; and then the strips were hung up in the smoke of a wood fire till they were quite dry; after which they were buried in a hole in the sand, lined and well secured with stones. The honour of superintending the preparation of this game was offered to Arnall; but he declined it, asking, in preference, the favour of having George for his companion in an excursion, and the loan of a hide-sack which had been made for general use. George, who was not particularly fond of Arnall, and did not know what they were going to do, had much rather have stayed to help his father; but he felt Edition: current; Page: [62] that Arnall had earned the right of asking his assistance, and therefore willingly accompanied him.

When they were out upon the plain, Arnall looked round upon the various clumps of trees which grew here and there.

“Which is the highest, George,” said he, “yonder middle tree of that copse, or the straggler to the west?”

“That to the west,” answered George, “but they are neither of them fruit-trees, and they are not places likely for monkeys to lodge in.”

“I want neither monkeys nor fruit,” said Arnall. “They can be had nearer home. I want ostriches' eggs.”

George looked puzzled, for he knew ostriches laid their eggs in the sand, far away from trees. His companion, however, explained that the ostrich is so shy a creature, that it is impossible to learn where her eggs are hid, unless she is watched from a distance, and even at that distance it must be from some place of concealment, so sharpsighted and timid are these singular birds.

“Do you get as high in the tree as you can,” said Arnall, “and watch for ostriches on all sides. If you see any one run round and round in a circle, mark the spot carefully, and when you are sure of it, come down. If the birds choose to go to a distance of their own accord and to leave the eggs (as they often do on so hot a day as this), we shall be obliged to them for saving us a deal of trouble; but if one remains Edition: current; Page: [63] sitting, I will go out with my dogs and make a hubbub, and put them all to flight. While we are pursuing them, do you take the sack and go straight to the nest, and carry off some eggs.”

“How many?” asked George.

“Why, I must tell you a little about the make of the nest. It is nothing more than a large hole in the ground, with a little bank round it, made by their scratching up the earth with their feet. Inside you will see the eggs set up on end, to save room. If there should be half a dozen or so, you may bring all; for then they can have been only just laid, and must be good eating. If you find as many as fifteen, bring away the outer circle, which will be eight or nine. If there are thirty”—

“Thirty eggs in one nest!” cried George. “I never heard of such a thing.”

“Perhaps not, because you may never before have heard of a tribe of birds whose habit is to unite in flocks that all the eggs of a flock may be laid in one nest. As I was saying, if there are as many as thirty, you will find some laid on the outside of the bank. They are the best that can be got, so bring them all, and as many of the next outer circle as you can carry.”

“And if I find any feathers,” said George, “shall I bring them too? The time may come when we shall be able to sell them to advantage. Ostrich feathers bear a good price in England at all times.”

“True,” said Arnall; “but when we deal Edition: current; Page: [64] in ostrich feathers we must take more pains to get them than just picking them up. You will find plenty lying about the nest; but let them lie. They are good for nothing, unless it be to stuff our pillows by and by, when we come to have pillows again. The beautiful white feathers which English ladies wear must be plucked from the male ostrich. The feathers of the female are of a dark grey or black. When we get every thing comfortable about us, we will have ostrich-hunts, and sell the feathers for three or four shillings a-piece; but just now we want the eggs more by far.”

Arnall knew that a few snakes of the poisonous kind would be very acceptable to Hill; so he employed himself in looking for them in the copse, while George was swinging about at the top of the tree. There is little or no danger of a bite when people are on their guard; and the dogs having been trained to catch them, several were soon secured without difficulty, their heads cut off for a present to Hill, and the bodies put into the sack to be cooked for dinner, many people being as fond of them as of eels. Arnall was just carrying a beautiful one, lemon-coloured, and speckled with black, and five feet long, to the foot of the tree, to show to his young companion, when he saw George coming down in great haste.

“Off with you and your dogs,” said the boy.

“Which way?”

“Due east, to the left of yonder thicket, and I will follow and strip the nest presently. They Edition: current; Page: [65] are not three hundred paces off. But where's the sack?”

Arnall pointed to the place in the copse where he had left it, whistled to his dogs, and set off at full speed. As soon as the ostriches saw him, they took flight; and as his pursuit was only a pretence, he was not too eager to observe their motions. There was something laughable in the way in which they sped along, one behind another, with their short wings and tufted tails spread, and their long legs clearing the ground as swiftly as a race-horse can follow. When they were out of sight, our sportsman whistled back his dogs, and stood to wipe his brows and look round for his companion. He could see no one, but supposed some rising of the ground might conceal the lad, or that he might be stooping after the eggs; so he walked leisurely back. Presently he came upon an ostrich's nest, crowded with eggs, and with so many lying round the outside, that he was sure no one had meddled with it. He looked again and again, and measured the space with his eye, and calculated the direction, and after all could not make himself sure whether this was the right nest. It was not usual, he knew, for two nests to be so near together; but, if this were the one, he could not conceive the reason of George's delay.

“He is so ready-witted and so quick-handed,” thought he, “it is impossible he should be groping for the sack all this time. I will carry off as many as I can take, and come back with him for more. I will put one of these feathers into Edition: current; Page: [66] my cap too, grey though they be, and give one to him too, for a trophy. And I do not see why these skins should not make us caps and waistcoats, under Fulton's good management; so I shall take these dead beasts into the shade and skin them.”

The beasts he spoke of were a jackal and two wild cats, which had ventured near the nest for eggs in the night, and had apparently been crushed to death by a blow from the foot of the cock-ostrich, whose office it is to keep guard at night. Arnall tied them together by the tails, and slung them over his shoulder, and carried also three eggs, which were as many as he could manage without a sack; for they were each as large as a pumpkin. All the way as he went, he whistled aloud and shouted, but could see and hear nothing of George.

When he entered the shade of the copse, his heart misgave him, for at last he began to fear some accident had happened. Before he had advanced many paces, he saw the poor lad lying on his back, his face expressive of great suffering, and one of his legs swollen to an enormous size. His countenance brightened a little when Arnall appeared.

“I thought you would not go home without coming back to see what had become of me,” he said.

“And what has happened to you, my poor boy?” said his companion. “Have you been bitten by a snake, or a scorpion, or what?”

“By a horned-snake,” said George. “I did Edition: current; Page: [67] not see him till I was close upon him, so that I could not get away: so I tried to kill him as the natives do; but he struggled hard and slipped his neck from under my foot; and before I could get him down again, he bit me in the calf of my leg. I did kill him at last, and yonder he lies; but do you know, Mr. Arnall, I think he has killed me too!”

Arnall was too much grieved to speak. He examined the wound, and tried to ease the swollen limb by cutting off the trowser which confined it. He gathered some leaves of a particular plant, and bruised them, and applied them to the part, as he had seen the natives do on such an occasion, and then told George that he would carry him home as fast as possible.

“Can you carry me three miles?” said George. “I do not feel as if I could help myself at all, but I will try. I should like to see father and mother again.”

“They shall come to you if we cannot reach home,” replied Arnall; “but let us try without losing more time. I want that Hill should see your leg.”

“There would be little use in that,” said poor George, faintly, as, on trying to sit up, he felt sick and dizzy.

“Put your arm round my neck, and I will lift you up,” said Arnall; but George did not move. His companion put the arm over his shoulder; but it fell again. George seemed insensible.—Arnall made one more trial.

“Will you not make an effort to see your mother?”

Edition: current; Page: [68]

George opened his eyes, raised himself, and made a sort of spring upon his companion's shoulder, and then laid his head down, clinging with all his remaining strength. Arnall used all the speed he could with so heavy a burden, and was comforted by finding that either the air or the motion seemed to rouse the poor patient, who appeared better able to keep his hold, and even spoke from time to time.

“Mr. Arnall!” said he.

“Well, George.”

“There is a thing I want to tell you about making arrows. Bring me a reed when you put me down, and I will shew you how the natives barb them. I meant to have made the first myself, but as I can't, I will teach you.”

“Thank you: but do not tire yourself with talking.”

After a while, however, George began again.

“Do you know, Mr. Arnall, I think when the crops are got in, and the houses built, and some cattle in the fields again, you will have the Bushmen down upon you some night?”

“Well, we have sent for arms and powder from Cape Town.”

“I know: but they will be of no use if every body is asleep. I meant to ask to be a watchman with as many as would join me, and to take it in turn, three or four every night. I wish you would see it done, and have all the boys taught to fire a gun.”

Arnall promised, and again urged him to be silent.

“I will, when I have said one other thing Edition: current; Page: [69] about my mother. I wish you would tell her——”

Here his head drooped on Arnall's shoulder, and presently, being unable to hold on any longer, he fell gently on the grass, and his companion saw with grief, that it was impossible to move him farther.

“The dogs will stay and take care of you, George,” said he, “while I run for your parents and Hill. I will be back the first moment I can. Here; I will put the sack under your head for a pillow. In less than an hour you will see us. God bless you!”

“Stay one moment,” said George. “Tell little Mary the whistle I promised to make her is just finished, and it lies in the hollow of the chestnut-tree,—call it my cupboard and she will know.”

“All this will do when I come back,” said Arnall, who was impatient to be gone. He wiped the boy's moist forehead and kissed it. George pressed his hand and whispered:

“Let me say one thing more, only this one. If my father had seen you do that, he would never call you proud again; and if you would only play with Mary Stone sometimes, and speak a little kinder to dame Fulton, you can't think what a difference it would make. Do, for my sake. I want them to know how kind you are, and I do not think I shall live to tell them. You are not crying for me, surely? No; 'tis for mother. God bless you for those tears, then! Good bye, Mr. Arnall.”

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Arnall looked back once or twice, and then George feebly waved his hand.

As many as were near enough to hear the sad news Arnall brought to the settlement followed with those he came to seek. They made all speed; but the whining of the dogs as they approached made them fear that they were too late. It was indeed so, though at the first moment it seemed doubtful whether George was not asleep. One arm was about the neck of his favourite Rover. The other hand was over his eyes, as if the light had been too much for him. He did not move when the dog was released. He never moved again.


The death of George Prest was lamented as a public misfortune in the settlement; for he was not only a dutiful son and an amiable companion, but one of the most ready and industrious of the labourers for the community. A sudden damp seemed to be cast over all the plans and doings of the little society by this event, and the affairs which had been most interesting in the morning had lost their interest by night.—The water flowed into the finished trenches, and no one looked on but the one labourer and Mr, Edition: current; Page: [71] Stone who finished the work; and when, the next morning, the young corn which had been parched and withered began already to show signs of revival, no one smiled at this promise of fruitfulness. The little company walked in silence to their cave at night, and seemed unwilling to be roused by the dawn. The fathers grasped the hands of their children, as if some danger was at hand; and it was long before any mother in the settlement would allow her little ones to go out of her sight. It was an affecting thing to observe how George was missed by every body; a sure sign what a valuable member of society he had been. His father and mother mourned him in silence, but the little children, who could not be made to understand what had happened, were continually asking for him.

“I want George. Where is George?” was the daily complaint of little Mary and some of her playmates; and long after they had become accustomed to his absence, and had ceased to mention him, his older friends felt the same want, though they did not express it. The captain himself often said in his heart, “I wish George was here.”

As the captain was going his rounds a few days after the funeral, he stopped to look on while Harrison worked at the reed-house. Harrison looked grave,—almost sulky.

“I'll tell you what, captain,” said he, “it is too bad to expect so much of me as you seem to do. Unless I have more help, I shall never get Edition: current; Page: [72] a roof over our heads before the rains come. 'Tis a folly to expect it.”

“That is just what I was thinking about,” said the captain. “Mr. Stone told me this morning that the wind has changed a little, and that he thinks we shall be in for the rainy season ten days hence. What help would you like?”

“As much as ever you can spare me,” answered Harrison. “If we had half a dozen hands, the work would go on a dozen times as fast, for I lose much of my time in turning from one thing to another, and so does my man. Before he has brought reeds enough, my I want them made up in bundles to my hand; and before he has tied three or four bundles, he wants more thongs. And then again the clay might be drying on the parts that are done if it was ready, and somebody was here to plaster; and if I set about that, I am directly told that the first thing to be done is to cover in the part that is reared, in case of the rains coming; but then the wood (whatever it is to be) for the roof is not ready, nor yet the thatch: and so we go on,”

“I was sorry,” said the captain, “to Call off the men I promised you at first; but the trench was the great object, you know. Now that is finished; and I hope the folks will be home from the hunt to-night, and then you shall have as much help as you wish for.”

Harrison touched his cap, and hoped no offence from his manner of speaking; but it wounded him, he said, to think how he had lost Edition: current; Page: [73] the little help he had. It was poor George who had worked the clay, and who had plastered the chief part of the wall that was done.

The captain himself took up the spade that lay idle, and watered and worked the clay till he was called away; and this, and the prospect of more help to morrow, put Harrison into good humour again.

The hunt, of which the captain spoke, proved grandly successful. As there were neither horses nor guns, and a very few dogs, it could scarcely be called a hunt, in comparison with many which take place in that country. All that could be done was to alarm the herds of buffaloes and antelopes with noise, and so to echo the din as to drive the animals towards the pits which had been dug and carefully covered over, that they might not be observed by the prey. On they rushed; and though some seemed to escape the traps by a hair's breadth, others fell in: and when one herd after another had been driven over the ground till dark, it was found that out of seven pits which had been prepared, five had caught a prey. The huntsmen then lighted their torches, and proceeded to examine their gains; two or three of them with secret hopes that they might find a stray horse or two out of a small number they had seen crossing the plain in the morning. As it does not appear that there is now a breed of wild horses at the Cape (though it is supposed there formerly was), these were probably once the property of settlers in some neighbouring district, who had either lost them Edition: current; Page: [74] after turning them out to feed on the mountains, or had set them free on quitting their settlement. However it might be, these horses appeared of so elegant a form, and so rapid and even in their paces, that our hunters could not but long to have them in possession; and their wishes were partly gratified. A fine grey mare was found in one of the traps. The fear was that she might have been injured by the fall; and great was the anxiety of the lookers on till, one noose being securely slipped over her head, and another prepared for her fore-legs, she was got out of the pit. She appeared to be unhurt, and sound in every part, and began to neigh when she felt herself on open ground again, as if she would have called all her companions round her. One only answered her; her own foal, which came bounding to her, fearless of all the enemies at hand. He was presently secured, and this valuable prey led home. In three of the other pits they found three antelopes, which were led home for stock, and in the fourth a buffalo. He alone was destined for slaughter. He was slain and removed at once, that the pits might again be covered over for the chance of a further prey. It was very late before the whole was finished; but it was a satisfaction that most of the hands thus employed would be at liberty for other work the next day.

Before they slept, the captain and Mr. Stone had a consultation on a matter of increasing importance.

“I am afraid,” said the captain, “we are on Edition: current; Page: [75] a wrong plan. Indeed, I hope to find we are, for unless some change can be made in our mode of operation, I shall be quite at a loss to know what answer to make to all the entreaties for help in the works we have in hand. Our people seem to think I can command labour to any extent.”

“All governors,” said Mr. Stone, “are supposed to have boundless resources, and are doomed to disappoint their subjects. You only pay the regular tax for your dignity. But do you think there is a proper economy of labour in our society?”

“That is what I want to consult you about. I think not. I think we have too many undertakings at once for our number of hands.”

“It has occurred to me,” said Mr. Stone, “that we should get on faster by putting all our strength into one task at a time, than by having a dozen at once on hand, with little prospect of finishing them. Look how poor Harrison frets over his building; and well he may. The weather is beginning to change, and instead of having three sheds, I doubt whether we shall have one finished by the time the rains come on.”

The captain here interrupted him with an ac count of what had passed in the morning; and it was agreed that building should now be the first object.

“I could not help thinking,” said Mr. Stone, “that the women and children set us a good example as to the wisdom of saving labour, when they laid their own little plans for doing their appointed tasks. Have you observed the Edition: current; Page: [76] boys making their bows and arrows, and other weapons?”

“I saw by the number they made that they must be proceeding on a good plan. What was it?”

“The first day,” said Mr. Stone, “they sat down, each by himself under a tree, to cut his piece of wood the right length and thickness for his bow. It was weary work with any tool but the hatchet, which was lent them while it was not wanted for other purposes. There was but one hatchet among three, after all; so while Joe used it, little Tommy stood by waiting. He would not go to seek reeds for arrows like John, because he expected every moment that he might have the hatchet; so there he stood, with the wood in his hand, winking at every stroke of the hatchet, and looking disappointed as often as Joe shook his head and began again. At last, he got possession of it; but he was very awkward, and first chopped his wood too short, and then shaved it too thin; and by the time he had spoiled one piece, John came up and wanted the tool. ‘Presently,’ said Tommy; and in his hurry he split the next piece all the way up, so that it was fit for nothing. Then he lost his patience, and cried out, ‘I wish you would look and see what Joe is doing, instead of staring at me in that manner.’ So John turned to observe his friend Joe.”

“And what was Joe doing?”

“He was getting on little better than Tommy. The next thing to be done was to twist the gut Edition: current; Page: [77] for the bow-string—an easy task enough: but Joe's hand shook so with using the hatchet, that he could scarcely fasten the ends ready to twist. Besides this, it was all uneven and knotty, and not fit to be used at last. ‘Dear me,’ said Tommy, coming to see, while he fanned himself with his cap and took breath, ‘I can twist a bow-string better than that any day.’ ‘Well, then,’ said Joe, ‘I wish you would do my job for me, and I will do yours for you.’ ‘And while your hand is in,’ said John, ‘you may as well do mine too, and I will make your arrows; for that is a sort of work I am accustomed to.’”

“A good bargain,” observed the captain.

“Indeed, they found it so; for instead of wounding themselves and spoiling their materials and losing time by going from one kind of work to another, they each did what he could do best, and thus made a great saving of time and labour. The three bows were finished so soon, that the little lads were inclined to make more to change away for something they wished for; and they have set up a regular manufactory under the great oak. There is a block for Joe to chop upon; and a hook for Tommy to fasten his bow-strings to; and a sharp stone fixed into a chink, for John to point and barb his reeds with.”

“So with them the division of labour has led to the invention of machinery,” said the captain.

“A certain consequence,” replied his friend. “Men, women, and children, are never so apt Edition: current; Page: [78] at devising ways of easing their toils as when they are confined to one sort of labour, and have to give their attention wholly to it. That puts me in mind of what our ladies are doing.”

“What is that?”

“They have divided their labour according to their talents or habits, and daily find the advantages of such a plan. My wife was telling me how little she could get done while she had to turn from her cooking to her sewing, and from her sewing to take charge of the children when they strayed into the wood.”

“It was a new sort of sewing and a new sort of cooking,” said the captain, “and I dare say it was some time before she got her hand in, as we say.”

“To be sure; and it is clear that if each person had only one new method to practise, and was not disturbed when once her hand was in, the work of every kind would go on faster. My wife's neighbours found that she used the porcupine's quill—her new needle—and the threads of flax more handily than they; so they offered to do her other work, if she would mend their own and their husbands' clothes. She was very willing, because she could thus keep our little girl always beside her. The child is too young, you know, to play in the wood with the others.”

“And what becomes of them?”

“Kate goes with them to take care of them; and while she watches their play, she plats dry grass to make hats for us all. She is a neat and quick hand at this, and it is a work which can Edition: current; Page: [79] be done as she goes from place to place. By the time the sun shines out again after the rains, there will be a large light straw hat for each labourer—a very good thing in such a climate.”

“I wondered,” said the captain, “what made Robertson steal away into the wood so often, so steady a workman as he is; and I thought it was a new fancy in him to have some pretty wild flower in his hat or his breast when he came again.”

“I dare say the lovers do not turn off less work on the whole,” said Mr. Stone, “for these few moments' chat during the day. Did you not observe that he is the first man in the settlement who has had a straw hat?”

“I did. Well: who undertakes the cooking?”

“Mrs. Prest; whose husband helps her with the management of the oven and the more laborious parts of her business. Then little Betsy and her mother are our housemaids. They stay behind when we leave the cave in the morning, and sweep it out, and strew fresh rushes, and pile the wood for the night fire. And between this division of labour and the little contrivances to which it gives occasion, we are certainly better waited on and taken care of by our wives and companions than if each had to do all the offices of one household.”

“True: and as long as we cannot have the comfort of a private home to each family, such a division is wise in every way. But it will not be long before the state of things will change.”

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“Even then,” said Mr. Stone, “it will be desirable to continue the same plan till labour becomes less precious than it will be to us for months to come. When each family has a house, let each family eat in private; but why should not the cooking go on as at present? There will soon be baking to do in addition, and an increase of labour in proportion to our increased means of comfort: so that we must spare labour to the utmost till we can get a stock of labourers who do not require to be fed and taken care of.”

“You mean machines.”

“I mean, in the first place, the tools which will soon be on their way from Cape Town, and which will be our simple machinery: and, in the next place, the more complicated machinery which those tools will make. When we get such a fund of labour as this at our command, we may begin to indulge in the luxury of having everything within our houses done for us by those we love best, and according to our own fancy. Our society must be much richer, one and all, than now, before I think of having one of my wife's Dorsetshire pies, made by her own neat hands, and baked in an oven of our own.”

“There must be an extensive division of labour,” said the captain, “before even that single dish can be prepared.” To say nothing of what has already been done in our fields in fencing, ploughing, sowing, and trenching, there is much work remaining in reaping, threshing, and grinding, before you can have the flour. Then the meat for your pie is still grazing, and Edition: current; Page: [81] must be brought home and slaughtered and cut up. Then the salt must be got from the lake yonder; and the pepper,—what will you do for pepper?”

“The pepper must come from over the sea; and only think of all the labour that will cost: the trouble of those who grow and prepare it in another land, the boxes in which it is packed, the ship in which it is conveyed, the waggon which brings it from Cape Town; all these things are necessary to afford us pepper for our plainest pies.”

“And how much more would a plum-pudding cost! The flour and the butter may be had near home; but the sugar must be brought from one country, and the raisins from another, and the spice from a third, and the brandy from a fourth There could be no plum-puddings without such a division of labour as it almost confuses one to think of.”

“No, indeed; for we must consider, moreover, the labour which has been spent in providing the means of producing and conveying the things which make a plum-pudding. Think of the toil of preparing the vineyards where the raisins grow; of the smith and the carpenter who made the press where the grapes are prepared, and of the miner, the smelter, the founder, the furnace-builder, the bricklayer, and others who helped to make their tools, and the feller of wood, the grower of hemp, the rope-makers, the sail-makers, the ship-builders, the sailors who Edition: current; Page: [82] must do their part towards bringing the fruit to our shores. And then—”

“Nay, stop,” said the captain laughing; “you have said quite enough to show that it would cost more than the toil of a man's whole life to make a plum-pudding without the division of labour which renders it so easy a matter to any cook in England. I have heard it said that the breakfast of an English washerwoman has cost the labour of many hundred hands; and I believe it. If we think of nothing but the tea and the sugar, we may fairly say this; for the one comes from the East Indies and the other from the West, and innumerable are the hands which have been engaged in growing and preparing and conveying them to the table of an English kitchen. Our countrymen little think how much the poorest of them owes to this grand principle of the division of labour.”

“They little think,” added Mr. Stone, “how many kings and princes of countries less favoured than theirs would be glad to exchange their heaps of silver and gold for the accommodations of an English day-labourer. Many a sovereign, who covers himself and his courtiers with jewels, or who has absolute power over the lives and liberties of a million of people, could not, if he would, have anything better than a mat or a skin to sleep on: he could not, if he would, have anything better than a wooden trencher to eat off, or the shell of a large nut to drink out of; and as to what he eats and drinks, he might give Edition: current; Page: [83] the wealth of his kingdom in vain for any thing so good as a plum-pudding, or a Dorsetshire pie, or a breakfast of tea and toast. And all this, because he and his people know nothing about the division of labour.”

“Well,” said the captain, “we are not yet in a condition to have tea and toast; but we will try to-morrow what a division of labour will do towards rearing a house over our heads.”

“And next,” said Mr. Stone, “in getting some earthenware utensils. I see Harrison is in a hurry to begin his pottery. I tell him that we can eat off wooden trenchers for a while; but I believe we shall be glad to have a better draught than we can fetch with the palms of our hands.”


A rapid improvement took place in the affairs of the settlement within three months. An abundant supply of food being secured by the getting in of the harvest, the most efficient labour of the society was directed towards the procuring of the domestic comforts for which every man, woman, and child of them was beginning to pine. Their condition at tiffs time may be best described by giving a picture of a sick-room, Edition: current; Page: [84] inhabited, alas! by Mrs. Stone, who had fallen ill of a fever in consequence of over-exertion, and of anxiety for her husband and for the poor little girl who had appeared too young and tender for the hardships of a settler's life. Mr. Stone, however, had suffered nothing beyond temporary fatigue; and the little girl was taken so much care of by every body, that she throve as well as she could have done under any circumstances. The warmest corner of the cave and the softest bed of dry grass had been set apart for this child. Little Mary was presented with a straw-hat by Kate before her lover's was even begun; and it was made large enough to protect her delicate skin as well as to shade her eyes from the glare of the sun. The first draught that was milked from the antelope was brought to little Mary; and dame Fulton tied a charm round her neck to prevent her being wounded by any venomous reptile. Nobody, to be sure, thought this of any use but the dame herself; but as the child was never stung by any thing worse than midges, the old lady appealed triumphantly to fact in defence of her charm. The men used to carry Mary on their shoulders to the wood and hold her up to gather an orange or a bunch of grapes; and then the fruit was brought to the captain or Mary's papa as the little girl's gift. Then the boys had a tame monkey, and they taught Mary how to play with it without teasing it; and they trained one of the dogs to carry the little girl while one of the older lads held her on; and she generally took Edition: current; Page: [85] a ride every morning and every evening, before and after work; and being thus carefully tended and so well amused, little Mary grew fat and strong, and her papa found, as regularly as Sunday came about, (for he could not be much with her on other days,) that she had learned to do something which she could not do the week before. At last, Mrs. Stone ceased to be anxious about her child, and then she fell ill herself. It was not a dangerous illness; but it was a tedious time to herself, and a very uneasy one to her husband, who sighed for many comforts on her account that he would never have cared for on his own. She tried continually to console him, and often pointed out her many blessings, and expressed her thankfulness for the care that was taken of her. Mr. Hill, who was not very sorry to have a patient once more, was experienced as well as attentive. He was a good deal put out at first at having neither phials nor gallipots to send in to his patient, for he had been accustomed to think them as essential to a sickroom as the medicines themselves: but when he found that the lady slept as well after taking her draught out of a coarse earthen pipkin as if it had been brought, duly labelled, in a phial, he began to think, as she did, that it was a fine thing to have medicine at all in such a situation, and that his importance was wholly independent of the furniture of his surgery.

It was a happy circumstance that the removal from the cave had taken place before Mrs. Stone's illness began. She was lodged in the largest of Edition: current; Page: [86] the three reed-houses which bad been built, and each of which had been partitioned off into apartments for the families of the settlement. The invalid had the middlemost one, as being the coolest. A very good bed had been made by sewing up a soft hide into a bag and filling it with chaff. This was laid in one corner, on a frame supported by blocks of wood, the second bottom being made of hide in the absence of sacking. It is too dangerous to lie on the ground in places where venomous insects may enter. The covering of the bed was a light, flexible mat, woven by Kate's neat hands. A shelf of wood rested on tressels, within reach of the patient, on which stood a rude earthenware plate of figs and grapes, and a basin of cooling drink pressed from the sweet orange, and flavoured with its fragrant rind. There was a cupboard, stored with little dainties sent in by the neighbours to tempt the appetite of the sick lady:— sweetmeats, made of various fruits and honey; cakes of wheat and other flour with orange peel, honey, and seeds of various flavour; and abun-dance of broth, jelly, and other preparations of animal food. The only comfort the lady wanted was that of books; but as she knew it was impossible at present to procure them, she said nothing of her wish. Her neighbours were very kind in coming to see her and amuse her with accounts of all that was going on; and her husband spent by her side whatever time his other duties allowed. She had also a well-stored mind, and was thankful to be able to interest herself Edition: current; Page: [87] again in what she had read when she had little idea that she should ever be debarred from books. But with all these resources, she could not help sighing now and then for one favourite volume or another that might improve her knowledge and occupy her attention.

One day when she was sitting up, and when her husband was sure she was so much better as to be able to see a new face without too much fatigue, he brought the captain to pay her a visit.

“Why, really,” said he, when he began to look round him, “though this is not exactly the way one would furnish a sick-room if one had the choice, it is surprising how comfortable this place has been made.”

“I assure you,” said Mrs. Stone, “I have wanted for nothing really necessary, and have had many luxuries. I do not believe I should have recovered a day sooner if I had had the best room in the best house in England.”

“Every thing needful for bodily comfort has been furnished,” said her husband; “but it has been a daily regret to me that we could not supply you with the independent enjoyment of books. If we could, you would have been spared many a tedious hour when I was obliged to be away from you.”

“I have certainly felt enough of this,” said his wife, “to be more than ever sensible that, though it is a most desirable thing that the external comforts of life should be provided for every body, these comforts are after all only means to a higher end. When we have all that Edition: current; Page: [88] can be obtained in that way, we remain unsatisfied unless there be pursuits to occupy the mind.”

“It is as a pursuit occupying the mind,” observed her husband, “that productive industry is chiefly valuable. It has another object,— to place us in a condition fit for a further and better pursuit: and if we stop short when we have secured the requisite leisure and comfort, we stop short of what we were made for.”

“I am rather afraid of our people mistaking the means for the end,” said Mrs. Stone. “They know that they are doing their duty—that they are employed to the best possible purpose at present, in providing for the support and comfort of themselves and their families; and the pursuit itself keeps their minds active, and therefore makes them happy. But I am afraid of their going on to make this their only object, when they ought to be reaching forward to something better. In a few months we shall have stores of whatever we want; and it would be a pity to forget all we have learned from books and seen in the world, for the sake of heaping up more food and clothing than we can possibly use.”

“You need not fear, madam,” said the captain. “Our people are already thinking of trading with the next settlement, and even with Cape Town. I should not wonder if in five years we have a flourishing commerce, exchanging our productions for the manufactures of England. If we should go on working till we have Edition: current; Page: [89] a regular town of brick or stone houses, and roads and bridges, and periodical conveyances to and from Cape Town, with all the new objects which would be introduced by these means, you would no longer fear our people's not having a sufficient variety of pursuits, would you?”

“Certainly not,” said Mrs. Stone, “because I know what is the natural course of things where such improvements take place. We shall by that time have a chapel and a school-house, and a library; and, however the business of the society may be extended and varied, its members will become more and more disposed to find leisure for the improvement of their minds.”

“And this in its turn,” said the captain, “will tend to the improvement of their temporal condition. We shall have new inventions and discoveries which will help us to procure the comforts we have been used to with more and more ease continually, and will supply us with new ones which we little dream of at present. There are no bounds to what labour can do when directed by knowledge.”

“We were saying one night over our fire, captain, (as I dare say you remember,) that it is Nature that works, and that human labour only brings her materials together. Now,—as we do not know nearly all the materials that there are in nature, nor nearly all the different ways in which they may be combined, we do not know nearly all that human labour can do.”

“Witness what has been already done,” said the captain. “It is probable that men were Edition: current; Page: [90] possessed of timber, and cloth, and ropes, and that they had observed the power of the winds, long before they brought these things together to make a ship. And see what human labour, working with nature, has done in enabling men to cross oceans, and to traverse the globe if they choose. And so it is with the steam-engine, and with all the arts of life which raise the condition of man higher and higher. Nature has furnished the materials ever since the day of creation; it is human labour directed by knowledge, which makes more and more use of them from age to age.”

“We can see no bounds to the improvements which will take place,” said Mr. Stone, “because we see no bounds to the means which constitute them. Nature appears inexhaustible; human labour increases with the increase of population; to say nothing of a more rapid mode of growth.”

“What is that?” asked his wife.

“I will explain myself by and by. Natural materials and human labour are inexhaustible, and the other thing wanted—the directing wisdom of man—seems likely to grow for ever. So where shall improvement stop?”

“Providence,” said the captain, “by which all these things are framed and adapted, seems to work on a plan of perpetual progress, and to open a prospect of growing brightness to all who will look far enough. Providence points out one great truth respecting the temporal condition of mankind which, if properly understood, would Edition: current; Page: [91] banish all fear for the temporal prosperity of the whole race in the long run; and if duly acted upon, would put an end to most of the partial distress which now exists.”

“What is that truth?”

“That Labour is a power of which Man is the machine; and that its operation can be limited only by the resources of Man.”

“And how do you mean to act upon your knowledge of this truth, captain? You hold a very responsible situation; and I know you are not the man to let a truth lie by idle when you have a firm hold of it.”

“I have been thinking a great deal about my duty in this matter, I assure you,” replied the captain. “The more I consider the influence of a government in guiding or perverting this vast power of human labour, the more anxious I am to exercise my share of influence properly.”

“I thought,” said Mrs. Stone, “the only thing government had to do in this matter was to let people alone, and leave labour to find its right direction.”

“That is true,” replied the captain, “as far as the different kinds of labour are in question. It is no business of mine to pronounce a farmer's labour better than a shopkeeper's, or to show favour to any one class more than to another; but it is in my power to increase or lessen the usefulness of labour by the policy I pursue.”

“For instance,” said Mr. Stone, “if you encourage the division of labour to the utmost that Edition: current; Page: [92] our supply will allow, you increase its power immeasurably. If, on the other hand, you were to use your influence in persuading our people to work apart, each for himself, you would be wasting, to the utmost, the chief resource of the settlement.”

“True,” said the captain; “and thus may the energy of labour be increased without bounds by encouraging the division of labour: for, by such division, the same quantity of labour furnishes a more abundant produce: and the same remark applies to the encouragement of machinery; for machines shorten and assist all the operations of industry to a greater degree than we can calculate. But I have it in my power also to affect the extent of labour. I must take care that the more mouths there are to feed, the more industry there is in raising food. I must allow no idleness, and see that the number of unproductive labourers is not out of proportion to the productive.”

“You can do this in a little settlement like ours, captain; but surely the rulers of an empire cannot?”

“It is not the duty of the English government,” replied the captain, “to inquire who is idle in the kingdom and who is not, and to punish or encourage individuals accordingly. This would be an endless task, and an irksome one both to rulers and the ruled. But the same work may be done in a shorter way. Governments should protect the natural liberty of industry by removing all obstacles,—all bounties and Edition: current; Page: [93] prohibitions,—all devices by which one set of people tries to obtain unfair advantages over another set. If this were fairly done, industry would find its natural reward and idleness its natural punishment; and there would be neither more nor less unproductive labourers than the good of society would require.”

“I see plainly,” said Mrs. Stone, “the truth of what you have last said, but I want to know———”

Before she could explain what it was that she wished to learn, a message was brought in that the gentlemen were wanted.

“Which of us?”

“Both, sir, I fancy. There has been a meeting held under the great chestnut, and I believe it is a deputation from the meeting that is waiting without.”

Mrs. Stone said that if her husband would give her his arm, she should like to go and sit in the porch, and hear what was going forward. In answer to his fears that she would be tired, she declared that conversation, like a book, refreshed instead of fatiguing her, and that she was quite disposed for more of it.

Hill, who was one of the deputation, was surprised to see his patient advancing and appearing fully able to walk with her husband's assistance. Suiting his advice to the inclinations of his patient, (which medical men know it is often wise to do,) he doubted not that she would find the air reviving; and if she was strong enough to be amused, nothing could be better for her. So the Edition: current; Page: [94] lady was soon seated in the porch with her pillow at her back, and a log at her feet for a footstool, and a straw hat, as large as a West India planter's, on her head. Little Mary saw from a distance that something was doing in the porch, and came to look on. She had left her mamma on the bed an hour before, and had no idea of seeing her any where else this day.

“Mamma! mamma!” cried the delighted child, trying to climb the seat. “Take me up on your lap, mamma; I want you to kiss me.”

Her papa lifted her upon the seat, and she nestled with her head on her mamma's shoulder, and would not go to play again, though her companions came and peeped and called her. They all looked in in turn, that they might each have a nod and a smile from Mrs. Stone, and then they ran away, and left Mary where she wished to be.

“Well, my friends,” said the captain to Hill, and Harrison, and Dunn, who composed the deputation— “take a seat and tell us what is your business with us.”

There had hitherto been very little observance of ranks in the settlement, since the calamity which, befalling all alike, had reduced all to one level. On the present occasion, however, the deputation persisted in remaining standing and uncovered.

Their business was to report that a meeting of the people had been held to consider what were their resources, with a view to providing a permanent establishment for the captain as their Edition: current; Page: [95] chief magistrate, and for Mr. Stone as their chaplain and the schoolmaster of the society. They proposed to build a good house for each, as soon as the necessary tools should arrive; and to set apart for each a specified share of the productions of the place, till the introduction of money should enable them to pay a salary in the usual mode. This offer was accompanied with many grateful acknowledgments of the benefits which the society had derived from the exertions of both gentlemen, and with apologies for the freedom which had prevailed in their intercourse while poverty reduced all to a temporary equality. Now that they were rising above want was the time for each man to take his own station again, and the gentlemen should henceforth be treated with the deference which belonged to their superior rank.

“You are all in the wrong, my good friends,” cried the captain, rising and throwing off his cap. “Upon my word, I don't know what you mean. I am the son of a tradesman, and therefore exactly on a level with yourself, Mr. Dunn; for I have done nothing to gain a higher rank. And I must differ from you so far as to say that such circumstances as we have lately been in are the best test of rank, and that I, for one, would give not a fig for that sort of dignity which disappears just when the dignity of man should show itself. If I was on an equality with you when we were all in danger together———”

“But you were not, sir,” said Hill; “and that was one thing which Dunn was to have said, but I suppose he forgot it. It is because you Edition: current; Page: [96] guided us then, that we want you to govern us now. It was because you showed yourself superior to us then, that we want to honour you now.”

“Indeed!” said the captain. “Well, that is another matter. No man can be more sensible than I am of the advantages of a gradation of ranks in society, provided it be founded on a right principle: and I therefore cheerfully accept the honours you offer me, as well as the office to which it is right they should belong. It is for you and not for me to judge whether I have deserved either the one or the other; and there would be no true humility in questioning your decision. Will you be pleased to make known to those who have sent you my gratification at possessing their good opinion, and my acceptance of the office they propose, and of their plan for maintaining the charges of such an office?”

The deputation bowed low.

“I shall wish,” continued the captain, “to call a meeting of the whole society, in order to explain the principles on which I shall proceed in my government, and to obtain their advice respecting some regulations, and their consent to others which I may wish to adopt for the public good. This meeting, however, cannot be held till the return of our messenger from Cape Town shall enable us to calculate our resources for maintenance and defence.”

The three messengers bowed again, and then turned to Mr. Stone for his reply. He thus spoke:

“I receive with much satisfaction your request Edition: current; Page: [97] that I will continue my exertions as the guide of your religious services, and as the teacher of your children. Such a request implies much that it is gratifying to me to know. It implies that your interest in concerns of the highest importance is not lessened by the anxieties which have pressed upon you of late: and if not lessened, we may hope it is increased; for if adversity does not harden the heart, it softens it: if it does not make us discontented with Providence, it must draw us towards God.—Your request also implies that the immediate pressure of your adversity is past, or you would not be thinking of giving up the labour of your children in order that they might be taught by me, or of sparing some of your earnings for such a purpose.— Again: your request implies that you have that opinion of my services which it has been my endeavour to earn, and which I shall labour no less diligently to retain.—These considerations leave me no inclination to object to your plan, except in one particular.”

Here every body looked eager to know the nature of the objection. Mr. Stone continued,

“The captain is right in accepting a salary for his office;—because the benefit cannot in such a case be apportioned to individuals so that each may afford a recompense for the good he receives. The blessings of a good government are general in the society governed; and all ought to pay their share for those blessings; and none can know what amount of evil he Edition: current; Page: [98] escapes by living under such a government. But the case is different with services like mine; and the reward should therefore be differently given. Let every man who finds himself benefited by my religious services bring me such a portion of his temporal goods as he is inclined to offer. Let every father, whose children are taught by me, set apart whatever he may think an equivalent for the pains I shall bestow. If I find I am possessed of more than I want for present and future purposes, I will return a part. If I have not enough, I will ask for more.”

“If I might venture to speak, sir,” said Hill, —“this is all very well between you and us who understand one another so well; but this is not the rule to go upon with all pastors and schoolmasters, is it?”

“I believe you will always find,” replied Mr. Stone, “that the work of any office is best done where the reward is proportioned to the labour, instead of being given in the form of a fixed salary. In many government and other offices, this cannot be done with any precision; but where it can be, it should be; whether in the case of a pastor or a schoolmaster, or any other labourer for the public. Magistrates, soldiers, domestic servants and others, must be paid by salaries; but in every office where the benefit can be estimated in individual cases, let the payment be made accordingly. This may be depended upon as the best way of making the labourer exert himself, and exciting the benefited Edition: current; Page: [99] to make the most of his exertions. May I trouble you to explain my views to your companions?”

And then, after a few more expressions of mutual good will, the parties separated.

When Mr. Stone turned to speak to his wife, he saw tears upon her cheek. She was still weak-spirited, and the honour paid to her husband had affected her. He calmed her by turning her attention to the improvement which must be taking place in the affairs of the settlement, if its inhabitants could thus meet to deliberate on its judicial interests.

“Yes, indeed,” said the captain, “the appointment of a deputation to bring messages like these is a pretty good proof that we are getting up in the world.”


One fine evening, about the beginning of February,—that is, near the end of summer at the Cape,—a very extraordinary sight was seen by our settlers. The boys who were climbing trees for fruit perceived it first, and made such haste down from their perches, and shouted the news so loudly in their way home, that in a few minutes every one was out at the door, and all formed in a body to go and meet the new arrival. This arrival was no other than a loaded waggon, Edition: current; Page: [100] drawn by eight oxen; a scanty team at the Cape, where they sometimes harness twelve or sixteen.

There was a momentary anxiety about what this waggon might be, and to whom it might belong; for it did now and then happen that a new band of settlers, or a travelling party from Cape Town, passed through the village, and requested such hospitality as it would, in the present case, have been inconvenient or impossible to grant. The young eyes of the party, however, presently discovered that the driver of the team was their friend Richard the labourer, their messenger to Cape Town, of whom they spoke every day, but whom they little expected to see back again so soon. It was Richard assuredly. They could tell the crack of his whip from that of any other driver. The captain waved his cap above his head and cheered; every man and boy in the settlement cheered; the mothers held up their babies in the air, and the little ones struggled and crowed for joy. The oxen quickened their pace at the noise, and Richard stood up in front of the waggon, and shaded his eyes with his cap from the setting sun, that he might see who was who in the little crowd, and whether his old mother had come out to meet him. He saw her presently, leaning on the captain's arm, and then he returned the cheer with might and main. A load of anxiety was removed from his mind at that moment. He had left his companions in a destitute state, without shelter, or arms, or provision beyond the present day. He had not Edition: current; Page: [101] received any tidings of them; it was impossible he should; and a hundred times during his journey home, he bad pictured to himself the settlement as he might find it. Sometimes he fancied it deserted by all who had strength to betake themselves to the distant villages: sometimes he imagined it wasted by famine, and desolated by wild beasts or more savage men. At such times he thought how little probable it was that one so infirm as his mother should survive the least of the hardships that all were liable to; and though he confided in the captain's parting promise to take care of her, he scarcely expected to meet her again. Now, he had seen her with his own eyes; and he saw also that the general appearance of the throng before him was healthful and gladsome, and his heart overflowed with joy.

“God bless you, God bless you all!” he cried, as he pushed his way through the crowd which had outstripped his mother and the captain.

“Let him go; do not stop him,” exclaimed several, who saw his eagerness to be at his mother's side: and they turned away and patted the oxen and admired the waggon, till the embrace was received and the blessing given, and Richard at liberty to greet each friend in turn.

“Tell me first,” said he, in a low voice to Mr. Stone, “are all safe? Have all lived through such a time as you must have had of it?”

“All but one. We have lost George Prest. We could ill spare him; but it was God's will.”

Edition: current; Page: [102]

Richard looked for George's father, who appeared to be making acquaintance with the oxen, but had only turned away to hide the tears which he could not check. Richard wrung his hand in silence, and was not disposed for some time to go on with his tale or his questions.

The first thing he wanted to know was where and how his friends were living.

“You shall see presently,” said the captain. And, as soon as they turned round the foot of the hill, he did see a scene which astonished him. Part of the slope before him, rich with summer verdure, was inclosed with a rude fence, within which two full grown and three young antelopes were grazing. In another paddock were the grey mare and her foal. Across the sparkling stream at the bottom of the slope lay the trunk of a tree which served as a foot-bridge. On the other side at some little distance was the wood, in its richest beauty. Golden oranges shone among the dark green leaves, and vines were trained from one stem to another. On the outskirts of the wood were the dwellings, overshadowed by the oaks and chestnuts which formed their corner-posts. Plastered with clay, and rudely thatched, they might have been taken for the huts of savages but for their superior size, and for certain appearances round them which are not usual among uncivilized people. A handmill, made of stones, was placed under cover beside one of the dwellings; a sort of work-bench was set up under one of the trees, where lay the implements of various employments which had been going on when the Edition: current; Page: [103] arrival of the waggon had called every one from his work. The materials for straw-platting were scattered in the porch, and fishing-nets lay on the bank of the stream to dry. The whole was canopied over with the bluest of summer skies. Dark mountains rose behind.

“We are just in time to show you our village before sunset,” said the captain, observing how the last level rays were glittering on the stream.

“And is this our home?” said Richard, in quiet astonishment. “Is this the bare ruined place I left five months ago? Who has helped you? Your own hands can never have done all this.”

“Nature,—or He who made nature—has given us the means,” replied the captain; “and our own hands have done the rest. Well-directed labour is all we have had to depend on.”

“Wonderful!” cried Richard. “The fields are tilled——”

“By simple individual labour. There can be little combination in tillage on a small scale where different kinds of work must succeed each other, instead of being carried on at the same time.”

“These houses and so many utensils——”

“Are the produce of a division of labour as extensive as our resources would allow.”

“There must have been wise direction as well as industrious toil.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Stone, smiling, “we have been as fortunate in our unproductive as in our productive labourers.”

“And have you had plenty for all?”

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“Abundance; because we have had no more unproductive labourers than we really wanted, and not a single idle person in the society, except infants in arms.”

“I don't see that you want anything,” said Richard, laughing; “I might have spared my journey, I think.”

“You will not say so,” replied the captain, “when you see how behindhand we are in some things from a deficiency of labour.”

“Of labour!” cried Richard; “I can help but little there. I bring but one pair of hands you know.—There are the oxen to be sure.”

“And much besides, full as valuable as either. The waggon will save many a week's or month's work of all our people, if we consider the toil of conveying goods from place to place with the hands only, or with such poor contrivances as ours have been. This waggon would have saved a store of labour if we had had it at harvest time. Many a long day's work did it cost us all to carry our corn in bundles, and on hurdles, or in the few sacks we had. Such a waggon as this would have carried it in a day, and we should have had all the rest of our labour to spare for other things.”

“I hope,” said Mr. Stone, “you have brought the materials for a water-mill. It is a pity such a fall of water as there is yonder should be wasted.”

“I have brought all but such as we may get out of our wood,” replied Richard. “It would have been folly to load the waggon with woodwork Edition: current; Page: [105] when we have so much timber at hand. But I have brought all the necessary tools.”

“We shall make a prodigious saving of labour there,” said the captain. “We are obliged to keep three handmills constantly at work; and even so can scarcely get flour enough for our daily wants. When our mill is up, it will grind our whole stock in a week, and one man will be enough to look after it.”

“As I had not room to bring everything,” said Richard, “I have been more particular about a good supply of tools than about articles of machinery. I thought we might make machinery with tools more easily than we could make tools with machinery.”

“Very right. You brought the simple machinery by which we could make the complicated: for both are machinery and both are tools. Tools are simple machinery; and machinery is a complicated tool. So you have brought the means by which we may get together the parts of a forge; and then the forge will in its turn make and keep in repair our tools. But was the Governor willing to advance these goods for us?”

“Perfectly; when he heard what a variety of things we hoped to send by and by in exchange for them. I told him we were honest people, who hoped to pay for the help we wanted: and when he heard how well we were doing before we were robbed, he said he would trust us for the debt, for he thought, for our own sakes, we should keep a better watch henceforth.”

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“We must see to that without delay, Richard.”

“Yes, sir; and I have brought arms and powder; and we have made an arrangement about exchanging. The Governor says it is hard upon our settlement and others to have to send so far as Cape Town; so he is to despatch a ship to an appointed place on the coast, only fifty miles from hence, and there we and all the settlers between this place and the mountains to the south are to send our fruit, and our corn, and our hides, and ostrich feathers, and anything else we may have, to be exchanged for powder, and iron, and any manufactured things that we cannot get for ourselves. The convenience is so great, that among so many settlements we can well afford to defray the expense of the little voyage; and, when I look round me, sir, I have no fear of our not being able to pay off our debt, if we can but keep thieves at a distance.”

When the waggon had crossed the stream (which was easy in its present shallow state) everybody was eager to begin to unpack; but the captain forbade any such proceeding till the morning. It was necessary that Richard should superintend; and Richard was very tired; so, when the oxen were taken out, the curious were obliged to content themselves with peeping and prying under the leather covering. There appeared a tempting store of packages, but so neatly done up, that nothing could be seen of them but here and there the blade of a saw, or the edge of a ploughshare, or the stock of a musket.

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Some one asked whether watch should not be kept over their new wealth during the night.— “No doubt,” the captain replied. “There was little fear of another attempt from the Bushmen at present; but there could not be too much care in watching.”

Arnall suggested that the watchers should be furnished with fire-arms, and offered his own services in that case, as he was accustomed to handle a musket. This seemed so reasonable, that Richard undertook to produce two muskets and a small barrel of powder. Arnall was properly thanked, while one said to another that his love of handling fire-arms must be very strong to overcome the dislike of night-air and fatigue in one who was so fond of his ease.

While Richard was busy upon the waggon, Arnall was seen to be talking very earnestly with him, till Richard laughed aloud, when the gentleman marched off with a very haughty step.

“What is the matter, Richard?” said the captain.

“Why, sir, Mr. Arnall came to beg me to transgress your orders so far as just to unpack a razor and soap for him. He says he shall not feel himself again till he is shaved, and I suppose that is the reason he skulked behind so when I would have spoken to him at first.”

“He need not be ashamed of his beard,” said the captain, “for we are all in the same plight. It is just five months since we have had a razor among us.”

“But the best of it is, sir,” said Richard, Edition: current; Page: [108] “that I have got no razors. It was that made Mr. Arnall so angry. I am sure I am sorry; but being shaved myself only once a week, it never came into my mind how much gentlemen think of being shaved every day.”

“We must forgive you an omission here and there,” said the captain, “if we find you have had a good memory on the whole.”

“You will please to remember, sir, that I had no list, for want of paper to make one. All the way as I went, I kept planning and saying over to myself what I should get: and at last it occurred to me that if I could not have pen and ink, I might find a slate: and so I did.”

“You picked one up by the road-side, I suppose.”

“Yes, sir; I found a fiat piece and a sharp piece, and wrote down whatever occurred to me that we should want; but I never once thought of razors. There are scissors enough, however, and Mr. Arnall may clip his chin, if he can persuade the ladies to lend him a pair.”

While Arnall was examining, and priming, and loading his piece, his good-humour returned; and as he held up his head and paced backwards and forwards beside the waggon, he presented a very good example to all who wished to learn how a sentinel should look. It did not make him angry to see the little boys imitating him in the morning, till one of them put his hand to his chin in a way not to be mistaken. It was impossible, however, to find out whether they were laughing at his beard or at his wish to be rid of it.

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It was just such a bright morning as every body had hoped for. The children, always ready to make a festival, had been stirring early, and with two or three grown-up playfellows had gone into the wood for green boughs, of which they stuck up some at the doors of the houses, made a sort of canopy of others over the precious vehicle which contained their treasures, and carried a waving grove about the settlement, singing and tossing their hats. They gave three cheers to the captain when he came forth to see what was doing; and they would have bestowed the honour of three times three on Richard, had not his mother appeared, holding up her finger as a signal for silence. Her son, over-wearied with his journey, was still unawakened by the bustle before the door, and she was unwilling that his rest should be disturbed. Eager as these boys and girls were for the pleasure of the unpacking, they were considerate enough to leave their hero to his repose, and marched off in silence, resolved to wait patiently till noon, if need should be, for the commencement of the grand ceremony of the day.

The gentlemen meanwhile were planning how this ceremony might be best conducted. It was well worth consideration; for, as they agreed, the introduction of machinery into a society which Edition: current; Page: [110] had depended on pure labour was a far more rational occasion of public rejoicing than those which, in larger communities than theirs, light up candles in the windows and bonfires in the market-places. In rejoicings for national victories, there is always much to trouble the spirits of many. Some are mourning the death of friends, and others grieving over the woes of the millions who suffer by war; and many feel shame and horror that so barbarous a custom as war should subsist among those who profess a religion of peace. But, on the present occasion, the joy of one was the joy of all; and it was fully justified by the acquisition the society had made. If some one had discovered a gold mine in the midst of their dwellings, he would not have conferred such means of wealth as Richard by his single waggon-load of wood and iron. Labour was that of which there was the greatest deficiency in the community; and the means of shortening and easing labour was therefore the most valuable present which could be conferred. While the gentlemen understood this fully, the children picked it up after their own manner. One had heard his father say that if he could but lay his hand on a plough again, he should feel as much at ease as a prince; for bread itself was hardly worth the slavery of tillage without tools. Another had seen his mother sigh when she looked at the tattered garments of her children and remembered that she had not wherewith to repair the old or make new. Another had observed the captain cast many an anxious look Edition: current; Page: [111] upon the frail walls and slight roofs of their dwellings, and had learned, therefore, to dread a summer tempest or a winter snow. And now the remedies for these evils and fears had arrived. The fathers might drive the plough and rejoice in their manly toil: the mothers might ply the needle and sing over their easy task; and soon the thunder-cloud might burst overhead, or the frosty winds sweep by, without fear that tender infants would be driven forth from a tottering house into the storm. It was truly an occasion of rejoicing; and none were more sensible of this than Richard, as might be seen by the brightness of his countenance when he at length came out, refreshed and full of apologies for having kept every body waiting.

The waggon had been drawn into the shade where there was open space large enough to admit every body to a perfect view of what was going on; for, the contents being common property, the captain desired that there should be an equal knowledge among his people of what their riches consisted of. The old people were seated in a row under the tree; and the others ranged in a circle, with the exception of Richard and two or three more, who were engaged in the centre, and Arnall, who, with a look of prodigious importance, placed himself somewhat in advance of his companions. He folded his arms and looked on in silence while the larger articles were being unpacked, displayed, and carried to the place appointed for them by the captain. But when some smaller packages appeared, containing Edition: current; Page: [112] the carpenter's lesser tools, or drugs, or linens and woollens, or needles and hardware articles, &c., &c., he stepped forward towards the captain, and proposed that, as the society was now restored to a state of civilization, he should resume the employment for which he felt himself most fit, and should take possession of these articles in order to retail them to customers as before.

“By what right do you propose to take such possession?” asked the captain, as much amused as he was astonished.

“By right of purchase, like an honest man,” replied Arnall, pulling out a canvas bag from some corner of his apparel, and displaying a pretty large amount of gold coin. “I did not presume upon this ground of superiority to my companions while we had nothing among us to buy or sell; but now that we are coming out of a state of barbarism, it is time that we should be resuming our several stations.”

“I wonder you do not perceive, sir,” said the captain, “that a new test of rank has been introduced by our late circumstances. Our members rank according to the comparative utility of their labours; and many here possess a better title than the having saved a bag of their own gold from the flames. There are some, sir, who, while you were looking after your gold, snatched infants from destruction, which is a somewhat greater service to the community. Pray, to whom do you propose to pay your gold in exchange for these goods?”

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“To yourself, as governor.”

“This property is not mine. I am only the trustee in whose hands it is placed. If you wish to trade with money, it must be in some other society where money is valuable, which it will not be here for some time to come,”

Observing that some of the people looked surprised at hearing that money could be otherwise than valuable, the captain continued,

“Keep your coin, sir, and take care of it, I advise you; for I hope to see the time when gold and silver will pass from hand to hand; but much must be done first. We must have more productions before a regular system of exchange can take place; and that exchange will be of the productions themselves for some time before we find it convenient to pay in coin: and before coin can come into common use among us, there must be more of it than your bag holds, Mr. Arnall.”

“What is to be done then, captain? How am I benefited by the arrival of these goods?”

“Your labour will be made easier, that is all. Labour is still the purchase money of every thing here.”

Arnall had no heart to remain any longer. He walked away by himself, vexed that he had let out the secret of his gold, and sighing for the gentility of keeping a shop in preference to the drudgery of hand-labour. Nobody looked after him, and nobody wished for his money-bag while so many better things were spread before their eyes.

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One package, directed to Mr. Stone, drew more tears from the beholders than had been shed since the first day of their misfortune. The governor's chaplain at Cape Town having learned from Richard that every book in the settlement had been destroyed with other possessions, had sent a supply of such as he imagined would be most useful in their circumstances. On the first day of the week the people had assembled regularly for worship, when Mr. Stone, in addition to his addresses, had recited such portions of the Scriptures as he could sufficiently remember to convey the sense. It was not to be expected that his flock in general should know and remember as much of the sacred books as himself; but many an one was surprised and humbled to find how imperfect and how unconnected were his own notions of the sense and design of even the most important parts of the sacred volume. Finding amidst their distresses the need of that which they had not hitherto sufficiently prized, and having in Mr. Stone a friend ever ready to help them to what they wanted, when, with a Bible at hand, they might, perhaps, have put off the inquiry to a future day, it strangely happened that some learned more of what was in the Bible when there was not a copy within many miles, than they had done when there was one in every family. They were much assisted by Richard's old mother, whose memory was better stored with some parts of Scripture than even Mr. Stone's. When she found her sight beginning to fail, she applied herself to learn that which Edition: current; Page: [115] she could never more read; and, by the help of her good son, she accomplished her wish. During his absence, it had been a frequent custom for groups to gather round the aged woman in the porch, when the toils of the day were done, to listen to a psalm, or a parable, or a discourse, which would send them home to their rest full of calm and serious thought. They were thus prepared to value the precious gift which they received from the chaplain; viz. several copies of the whole Bible, many more of the Testament, and some other works of a kind likely to turn to the best account the impressions which late events could not but have made upon them.

This gentleman had been thoughtful enough also to send a file of newspapers, just arrived from England. They were by this time of old date; but never did the most eager politician, the most anxious speculator, open his wet newspaper at a London breakfast-table so impatiently as the dullest and slowest of readers in our settlement devoured every paragraph from the newest and most important to the very advertisements of a year and a half before. Every thing was presently forgotten for these papers; the accustomed labour, the unusual festival, the new riches, all were nothing in comparison of news from England. They even forgot their good manners towards Mr. Stone, peeping over his shoulders and pressing upon him while he glanced over the intelligence of the latest date. He was able to make allowance for their eagerness, and with a good-natured smile gave up the sheet he Edition: current; Page: [116] held, and invited his wife to walk with him, judging that his people might communicate more freely, and enjoy their new pleasure with less restraint, in his absence.

He had seen enough to fill his mind with thoughts of his own land; but in a little while his interest returned to the society in which his lot was cast, and he encouraged in his companion and himself the most cheering hopes of the improvement of the social condition of all. He directed her attention to the particular circumstances on which he founded his hopes.

“See, my dear,” said he. “On that fall of the stream will be our mill; in that nook our saw-pit; behind that inclosure our forge. The stables for the bullocks are to be built yonder. I began to be afraid the sheep and cows would arrive from the mountains before we had produce to give in exchange for them, or a winter fold to secure them in: but there is no saying how rapidly we may get forward now we have so many means of saving our labour.”

“That reminds me,” said Mrs. Stone, “of what I was wishing to ask you. I see clearly, and I suppose the most ignorant person in the settlement sees, how useful machinery is in a case like ours, where the great object is to save labour. But are those in the wrong who dislike the extensive use of machinery in countries, such as England at the present day, where the great object is to find employment for labour?”

“Clearly wrong, in my opinion,” replied her husband: “because, till the human race reaches Edition: current; Page: [117] its highest point of attainment, there must be always something more to do; and the more power is set at liberty to do it, the better. Till all the arts and sciences are exhausted, till Nature has furnished the last of her resources, and man found the limit of his means of making use of them, the greatest possible supply of human labour is wanted, and it is our duty to make the utmost possible saving of it.”

“I remember,” said his wife, “what the captain said about labour being a power of which man is the machine; and I see how it must be for man's advantage to economise this power to the utmost. But I cannot reconcile this with the evils caused by the introduction of machinery where labour is abundant.”

“I do not deny the evil,” replied her husband: “but I see that the distress is temporary and partial, while the advantage is lasting and universal. You have heard of the dismay of those who got their living by copying manuscripts, when the art of printing was introduced?”

“Yes; and that many thousands now are maintained by printing to one who used to copy for bread. The case is the same with cotton-spinning, I know. Where one was employed to spin by hand, hundreds are now maintained by spinning with machinery; and thousands of times as much work is done.”

“Such a result in any one case, my dear, shows that the principle is a good one; and if, in any other case, it appears not to be good, we Edition: current; Page: [118] may be pretty sure of finding that the blame lies, —not with the principle,—but with some check or other which interferes with it. Such checks are imposed by the bad policy of some governments, and by the want of union between the different parts of society. While the race at large has still so many wants and wishes ungratified, it ought to be an easy thing for any quantity of labour which is turned away from one kind of work to find employment in another. That it is not easy, is the fault of the constitution of society, and we should be far from remedying the evil by repressing the principle and restricting the power of labour.”

“So you think that if labour had its free course, all over the world, machinery might be extended to the utmost perfection without doing any thing but good to the whole of the race?”

“I do.—And I see yet further evil in restricting the use of machinery in any one country;— that it invariably increases the amount of distress on the very spot. Since no power on earth can stop the improvement of machinery in the whole world at once, it does nothing but mischief to stop it in any one place. Wherever it is done, that place is thrown back in the race of competition, and will soon suffer under a failure of demand for its productions and manufactures; because, by the aid of machinery, they can be furnished more cheaply elsewhere.”

“Then the only thing to be done is to open as many channels to industry as possible, and to remove all obstructions to its free course?”

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“Just so.—Those in power should do this by pursuing the ‘letting-alone’ course of policy; and private individuals like you and me, my dear, can do no more than form right opinions, and when we are sure of them, spread them. We can only influence by forming a fraction of that mighty amount of power,—Public Opinion.”

“It will be long before we shall be wanted as advocates of the use of machinery in this place,” replied Mrs. Stone. “I can scarcely imagine that in our lifetime there will be any complaints of too great an abundance of productive power.”

“When we can afford it, my dear, perhaps we may indulge ourselves with a visit to England, and then we can judge for ourselves whether it has been a good thing or not for our Yorkshire friends and neighbours that improved machinery has been introduced there. If they have any trade at all, it is owing to this cause, for they could never have supported a competition with other manufacturing places by any means but this.”

“Your father seems well enough satisfied with his trade,” said Mrs. Stone. “He and his people have suffered occasionally, as all do, from a temporary glut in the market; but he has witnessed, through a long life, a gradual and steady extension of trade with the gradual introduction and improvement of machinery. I only wish that our settlement may have the same experience on the small scale which will suit our numbers,”

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“Perhaps,” said her husband, “if we should live to see our grand-children grow up in this place, we may be able to give them a lesson out of our experience. I can fancy you, a venerable grandmother, sitting at a window of a handsome stone house on yonder slope, and saying to a grandchild,—

“‘I well remember cutting up our meat with stones, and cooking it in a hole in the ground on the very spot where those tanpits are in use, preparing leather enough to maintain a hundred people by its sale. There, where the threshing machines turn out corn on which thousands are to feed, stood our labourers with their flails, toiling to supply our little band with a scanty provision. There, where that range of mills is preparing dye-woods to be sent east and west, were hands which could ill be spared once employed in chopping fuel for our nightly fires: and, beyond, where the straw-platting and basket manufactory employs a hundred and fifty of our population, sat little Betsy on the grass, trying to make a frame-work of twigs. And, on that side, where the brick-grounds and potteries extend over three acres, did our first potter attempt his first basin, unsteady and crooked as it was, for want of the machinery which now enables us to make such ware as we may well be proud of. There is now not a house within a hundred miles that has not some of our blue and white teaware, or a dinner service of our yellow ware, or, at least, some of our brown basins.’”

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“Some of our grand-children will surely be potters, if you be a true prophet,” said Mrs. Stone, laughing.

“Very likely. And if they are, I hope they will be always on the watch to introduce every mechanical improvement into their business, as a duty to society and to themselves.”

Just then Kate was seen approaching. With many blushes, she asked permission to speak with Mrs. Stone in private. Mr. Stone immediately walked away, when Kate explained that her lover was gone to consult the captain about his matrimonial plans, and that she wished to know whether Mrs. Stone saw any impropriety in their marrying while the settlement was in its present state. They did not mention it, she said, while every thing was in a precarious condition, and nobody knew whether they should remove or stay; but now that help had arrived, and there was a general disposition to remain, her lover urged her to delay no longer, and assured her that his work would be worth all the more to the society for the help she could give him, as well as for the domestic comfort he should enjoy.

Mrs. Stone was quite of Robertson's opinion. As long as the young people were sure of being able to provide for themselves so as to be no burden to the society, nobody had any right to object to their marrying. In England, at present, this was too often not the case: but in their infant settlement, where there was more than work enough for every body, she could see Edition: current; Page: [122] no possible objection to the parties pleasing themselves. She offered to ask Mr. Stone's opinion, for Kate's further satisfaction, though she knew very well what it would be.—Mr. Stone was within hearing, and when the case was put to him, smiled, and said that he should be happy to marry them on any day they might appoint. It was well for the young people that that rule of the former Dutch government at the Cape was given up, which obliged every body to go to Cape Town to be married. It would have been a wearisome and expensive journey, and have caused a great waste of time and much inconvenience to all concerned.

As it was, the affair was soon settled. The captain not only gave his approbation, but insisted that a cottage should be built for Robertson before the foundations of his own house were laid. Every body showed the same good will, so that the young couple enjoyed the firstfruits of all the mechanical labours of the settlement, taking care to repay them by their own exertions. Harrison's first bricks went to build their walls, and the first pottery that came off his wheel graced their shelves. Links and Richard (who had become a carpenter) furnished Robertson with a complete set of farming tools, and the labourers employed their spare hours in repairing his fences and laying out a pretty garden, which Betsy and her young companions stocked with the gay flowers and rich fruits which abounded in the neighbourhood. Mr. Prest furnished hides, which were tanned by Fulton Edition: current; Page: [123] into a set of chair-bottoms and some articles of bedding. Mr. Arnall and Kate's brother-in-law, Hill, ornamented the best room with some stuffed birds of rich plumage, and a collection of the gay insects of that country. Kate was almost ashamed of possessing ornamental luxuries, whilst so many comforts were wanting to those who, she said, deserved better than herself; but Mr. Stone told her that it ought to be gratifying to all lovers of the public good to witness tokens of pure tastes as well as of good will. His present was a range of beehives; both the stand and the hives being of neat workmanship, and placed just above a bed of sweet-smelling herbs, arranged and stocked by his wife. Kate determined in her own mind that her first bottle of mead should be sent to the parsonage before the return of her wedding-day.

The first week-day holiday in the settlement was on the occasion of Robertson's marriage,—a joyful day for all who were disposed to look round and see what, under the protection of Providence, had been effected, and what more was in prospect for the good of this united little community.

“Let us still be united, let us still be industrious,” said the good captain to one and another; “let us, as one man, discountenance crime, if such a scourge should appear,—let us be tolerant of mere folly, and honour wisdom and reverence virtue, and we shall be sure of enjoying all the happiness a benignant Providence Edition: current; Page: [124] thinks good for us. Let us try whether it be not true of societies as well as of individuals, that Providence places their best happiness within their own reach.”


London: Printed by W. Clowes, Stamford-street.

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No. II.
A Tale
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printed by william clowes
Stanford Street

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A Tale
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  • 1. Every Man his Whim . . . . . . 1
  • 2. Much may come of little . . . . . 17
  • 3. The Harm of a Whim . . . . . . 30
  • 4. Prosperity . . . . . . . . . 49
  • 5. How to use Prosperity . . . . . . 70
  • 6. Disasters . . . . . . . . . . 84
  • 7. Discontents . . . . . . . . . . 103
  • 8. Uproar . . . . . . . . . . 117
  • 9. All quiet again . . . . . . . . 133
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Among the hills, in a wild district of South Wales, stood a dwelling, known to few and avoided by most of those whose curiosity had led them to inquire concerning the inmates. This cottage was too humble in its appearance to attract frequent notice, and there was so much difficulty in reaching it, that no call but that of business was likely to bring any stranger to its threshold. A narrow path led up the hills to the foot of a steep flight of steps, made of rude stones, placed not very securely. At the top of a slippery bank above these steps was a gate, too high to be easily climbed, and too well tethered to be quickly opened. When one or the other difficulty, however, was overcome, the path lay direct to the porch of the cottage, on the bench of which lay sometimes a newspaper Edition: current; Page: [2] or a tobacco-pipe, and sometimes a ricketty work-basket, full of undarned stockings, according as the master or mistress of the cottage had been sitting there to enjoy the air. No place could be more retired than this porch, for it was nearly surrounded by garden and orchard ground, and was screened by a thick hedge of elder on the side where the gate was placed.

The master of this abode was John Armstrong, a hale man of seventy-nine. Its mistress was Margaret Blake, his housekeeper, a middle-aged woman, but as old-fashioned in her habits and appearance as her venerable companion. They were both very strange people in the eyes of everybody who knew them, being not only unsociable with strangers, but preserving, as it appeared, an almost perpetual silence toward each other. They never sat in the same room, except at meal-times. Old Armstrong avoided the porch unless Margaret was busy within; and she looked out to see that he was gardening, before she brought her work-basket out into the sunshine. It was reported by the only person who had the opportunity by invitation of witnessing their domestic habits, that Armstrong always read the newspaper at breakfast, mused at dinner-time, and studied the Farmer's Journal at supper: so that Margaret did not forget her own language was a wonder to everybody; especially as it was known that she had parted with her parrot because Armstrong had as great a dislike to tame birds as to dogs and cats. There was music enough, however, to break the Edition: current; Page: [3] silence which Margaret's own voice seldom disturbed. The little orchard was full of singing-birds, whose notes were far pleasanter than those of any chattering parrot. Armstrong played the flute too; and it whiled away the time to hear him play airs that she was taught to sing when a child on her mother's knee. Then there were other sounds as agreeable as music—the clinking of the chain when her master was letting down his bucket into the well; and the creaking of the roller on the smooth grass, and the whetting of the scythe in the early morning. Now and then, too, Margaret had to go to the next town for groceries and other things which were wanted; and then it was necessary that she should speak and that people should speak to her; and this practice, though it came very seldom, was enough to prevent her growing dumb.

She generally went twice a year to the town, which was four miles off. By her master's desire, she kept so large a stock of all necessaries by her, that there was no occasion to go oftener. He would not allow the name of “necessary” to whatever would not keep so long as six months. As to their food—he had the baking, and churning, and the rearing and killing of fowls, done at home, that no baker or market-man need come near his dwelling. His garden supplied his table, except that he regularly brought home a joint of meat after morning service on Sundays, the meat having been left for him at the house of an acquaintance on the Saturday. He sometimes went out fishing, and Edition: current; Page: [4] thus varied his fare quite enough for his own satisfaction: for he used to declare to a friend whom he saw occasionally, that he knew not what a prince could have better than good milk in the morning, potatoes, artichokes, peas and cabbages, with sometimes fish, flesh, or fowl for dinner, and a well-seasoned basin of gruel at night.

He was as easily satisfied as to clothing. The same blue coat with its large yellow buttons, the same leather breeches, mottled stockings, shoe-buckles, and cambric stock, had lasted him for many years, for he only wore them on Sundays; and it was quite enough for Margaret to buy his linen and the materials for his labourer's frock when she purchased her own stuff petticoat in the fall of the year, and laid in her stock of winter oil. He would not even have more frequent intercourse with the shoemaker, though he wore many shoes. He sent his worn shoes to town twice a year, and new ones were always ready to be sent back by the same messenger.

When people live so retired as Armstrong and his housekeeper, it is always supposed that they have some reason for dreading intercourse with their neighbours. It was believed, in the present case, that Armstrong was a miser, and that he kept a quantity of gold by him, of which he was afraid of any body getting a sight. It was prophesied, many a time, that he and Margaret would be found some day with their throats cut for the sake of this wealth. This was partly reasonable and partly false. Armstrong Edition: current; Page: [5] did keep money by him, and it was therefore likely that he would be robbed, if not murdered, living in so defenceless a way as his appeared to be. But he was no miser. He had been in trade in early life, and had lost money through the knavery of his partner. He immediately took a disgust to business, turned all he had into hard gold, bought this lone cottage and two acres of ground, and laid by two hundred guineas in a chest which he kept under his bed. Not all the reasonings of his friends about the uselessness of cash thus locked up, not all the hints that his life was not safe, not all the petitions of his only daughter that her husband might be allowed the use of the cash at a fair rate of interest, could induce him to unlock his chest. He declared that he would be cozened out of no more money; that he was resolved to leave his child two hundred guineas, and would not put it into the power even of her husband to lessen the sum; and as for thieves, he knew how to fire a pistol as well as any man, and could undertake to defend himself and Margaret and the cash-chest against more thieves than were likely to attack him. Of course, this was taken to be avarice; but he was by no means so careful in his expenditure as he might have been: he allowed two-thirds of his fruit and vegetables to rot, rather than sell them or let off any of his land; and what was more, he paid a boy for bringing a newspaper every morning as far as the foot of the steps, where he went to fetch it as soon as the lad had turned his back. Edition: current; Page: [6] No miser would have done this. A small yearly income arose from some commercial concern which was charged with an annuity to him. If any of this remained after the expenses of repairs, clothing, &c., were defrayed, he gave it all away the next Sunday to the poor whom he met in his way to the place of worship, except a few shillings which he put into Margaret's hands to answer any sudden occasion.

One fine summer morning Armstrong went to his arbour at the bottom of the garden to read the newspaper, preferring the smell of the honeysuckles to the heat of the porch, where the sun was shining in. He had left Margaret busy within doors, as usual at that time of day; and was surprised, when he had done reading and went in for his fishing-tackle, to find her dressed in her best, with her mob-cap and beaver, such as the Welsh women wear, of the shape of a man's hat. She was putting a clean cloth into the basket which hung on her arm, and preparing to set out.

“Why, Peg, is this the first of the month?”

“What has come to you, John Armstrong, not to know that?” said Margaret, looking alarmed for her master's senses. “That with the almanack hanging there, and the newspaper in your hand, you should not know that it is the first of the month!”

“I've mistaken a day, and I am sorry for it, for I had set my mind on fishing to-day. It is too hot for work, and just the day for good luck beside the pool yonder. You will have a Edition: current; Page: [7] cooler day and be more fit for walking to-morrow, Peg. Suppose you let me go fishing to-day?”

Margaret stared more than ever.

“Did I ever hear such a thing before?” cried she: “I that have never missed the first of the month since I kept your house, John Armstrong! And what will the people in the town think? I shall have them up here to see whether we are murdered; for they will say nothing else would keep me at home on the first of this month. And me to have to tell them that it is all because you have a fancy to go a fishing! And I have never been used to be dressed this way for nothing; but it must be as you please, John Armstrong.”

Margaret stopped to take breath; for she had not made so long a speech since she was in the town six months before. On her master's muttering something about losing such a season for a good bite, she made the exertion, however, to continue.

“If you must fish to-day, you need not keep me at home. You can lock the door and put the key in yon corner of the porch; and then, if I come back first, I shall know where to find it. It was my grandmother taught me that way, when she went out and I did not want to be left behind; for I was not fond of being lonesome then. Says she, ‘Stay at home as your grandfather bids you, like a good girl: but if you must go out, be sure you leave the key in the thatch.’ And so I did often and often, till Edition: current; Page: [8] grandfather came home one day and found out my trick, and then——”

“Ay, Peg; somebody will find out our trick too; and if you come back and find the chest gone, what will you say then? Off with you! but you will have no fish when you come back, that's all.”

Margaret smiled and shook her head and departed.

When she was out of sight, the old man felt restless and uncomfortable. He was not accustomed to be crossed and put out of his way, and he always accomplished, every day, exactly what he planned before breakfast. He had never given up an intention of fishing before. He wandered about the cottage. The beds were made, wand everything was left in such order that he could see nothing to find fault with, which would have been a great relief. He sauntered about the garden, and cut off some faded flowers, and tied up a few more, and wished it was evening, that he might water such as looked drooping. He wiped his brows and said to himself again that it was too hot to work. He got his telescope, and looked seaward; but a haze hung on the horizon, and he could discern no vessels. After a yawn, and a sudden thought that he could not dine for two hours later than usual on account of Margaret's absence, he began to think of taking her advice and going to fish after all. He locked the door, put the key into the hiding-place in the porch, walked round the cottage to see that Edition: current; Page: [9] the windows were fast, tethered the gate doubly, and marched off with his fishing-tackle. He turned to look back two or three times; but no one was in sight the whole length of the little valley. There was no sound of horse or carriage on the road below; and the stream looked so clear and cool as it splashed among the pebbles, that he was tempted to hasten on towards the pool above, where there was shade and an abundance of fish. He thought no more of the heat now that he had let himself have his own way; and proceeded whistling at a pace which would have done credit to a man of half his years. Once more he turned—at the top of the hill which was now to hide his dwelling from him—and fixing his telescope, saw to his great satisfaction that all was quiet; for the poultry were picking their food in a way which they would not have done if a footstep had been within hearing.

The shadows were lying dark and cool upon the water; the trout were unusually ready to be caught, and Armstrong had time for a comfortable nap after he had caught the number he had fixed upon beforehand as good sport. When he awoke, he resolved to hasten home that he might arrive before Margaret and surprise her with a dish of trout, while she supposed he had been at home all the morning. From the top of the hill he looked again through his telescope, and saw a sight which made his limbs tremble under him. The fowls were scudding about the yard in terror of a dog which was pursuing Edition: current; Page: [10] them; which dog was called off by a man who was making the circuit of the house, looking in at the windows and trying at the door. Armstrong threw down all that he was carrying, put his hands to his mouth and hallooed with all his might. But the attempt was absurd. In the stillest midnight, no human voice could have been heard from such a distance. Armstrong was soon sensible of this, and cursing himself for all the follies he had been guilty of that day, he snatched up his goods and ran down the steep path as fast as his old legs would carry him. He caught a glimpse of the man and the dog leisurely descending the steps, but when he arrived there himself, all was as vacant as when he departed. As he stood hesitating whether to follow the enemy, or go home and see what mischief was done, Margaret appeared below. While she toiled up the steps, her master reproached her bitterly with her morning's advice, and said that if his money was gone he should lay the loss to her charge. In the midst of her terrors, Margaret could not help observing that it was rather hard to have one's advice laughed at, and then to be blamed for the consequences of following it. She thought her master should either not have laughed at her, or not have changed his mind; and then she should not have wasted her money in buying him fish that he did not want. Armstrong was duly ashamed when he saw how his housekeeper had tried to console him for being left at home by bringing a dainty for bis dinner. He helped her to open the gate, Edition: current; Page: [11] her trembling bands being unable to untwist the rope, and carried her heavy basket into the porch. The key was safe in its hiding-place, as was the precious chest; and all within doors was in perfect order, No fowls were missing; no flower-beds were trampled; but it was certain that the newspaper had been moved from one bench to the other of the arbour.

“How you flurry yourself for nothing!” said the housekeeper. “I dare say it was nobody but Mr. Hollins come to play the flute with you.”

“He always comes in the evening; and besides he has no dog.”

“He is a likely man to read the newspaper, however, and I do not know anybody else that would sit here and wait for you, as some one seems to have done. Suppose it was your son-in-law come to ask for the money again?”

“He would not have gone away without his errand,” answered the old man with a sour smile; “and besides, you would have met him.”

“That puts me in mind, John Armstrong, I certainly saw a gentleman in the wood just down below, and I remember he whistled to his dog that was rustling among the bushes. A smart, pleasant-looking gentleman he was too; and when I turned to remark him again, he seemed to be watching where I was going.”

“A gentleman! Well, he is the first that ever came here to see me. except Hollins. But now, Peg, what do you mean by a gentleman?”

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“A gentleman? Why, you always know a gentleman, do not you? A gentleman looks like a man — like a person — like a gentleman.”

“No doubt,” said Armstrong laughing. “But tell me now, would you call me a gentleman?”

“Why, in as far as you are beholden to no one for your living——”

“No, no, I do not mean that. Look at me and say if I look like a gentleman.”

Margaret hesitated while she said that she did not think any gentleman commonly wore frocks of that sort; but that on Sundays, when she brushed his coat before he went to the town, she always thought he looked very genteel: but that this gentleman was dressed rather differently.

“Differently enough, I dare say,” said Armstrong. “I am sure I hope my best suit will last my time; for there is not a shop within twenty miles that would furnish me with such a waistcoat-piece as I should choose to wear; and I like to button my coat with buttons that one can take hold of, instead of such farthing-pieces as your Birmingham folks make now.”

“It is a pity,” said Margaret as she moved towards the cottage, “that the gentleman did not stay to take a bit of fish, for we have more than we can eat while it is good.”

For a month afterwards, Margaret's prevailing idea was a superfluity of fish. She had great pleasure in making an acceptable present; but she could not bear to throw away money.

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So much breath had been spent this day, that the inhabitants of the cottage felt quite weary before night, and scarcely opened their lips for many days, during which there was no further alarm.

One morning early, however, the sound of wheels was heard in the road below—a rare sound; for though the road was good and had formerly been much frequented when there were iron-works a few miles farther on, it was now seldom used but by a solitary traveller. The astonishment of Armstrong and his housekeeper was great to observe that carts laden with materials for building, and attended by a number of workmen, were passing by, and presently stopped at a level place at the foot of a hill full in sight of Armstrong's dwelling. He now, for the first time, perceived that the ground was marked out by stakes driven in at certain distances. Armstrong brought his basin of milk out of doors that he might watch what was doing; and the whole day was one of idleness and lamentation; for it was very evident, from the way that the labourers set to business, that an iron-work was about to be established where the wild heath and the green woods had flourished till now.

The next day made all clear. As the old man was drawing water for his plants at sunset, two gentlemen approached the gate. As one of them was Mr. Hollins, Armstrong advanced to welcome them.

“I have not brought my flute,” said Mr. Hollins, “for I am come on quite a new errand, Edition: current; Page: [14] this evening—to introduce to you a future neighbour, Mr. Wallace, who wishes for the pleasure of your acquaintance.”

Mr. Wallace, the same whom Margaret had seen in the wood, explained that he was a partner in the new iron-work, and that as his business would lead him to be every day within a stone's cast of Armstrong's dwelling, though he was at present inhabiting a house a little way off, he wished to be on a neighbourly footing at once, and had therefore called the week before, and was sorry to find the house shut up.

“I did not believe him at first,” said Mr. Hollins, “when he told me that he read the newspaper for an hour in your arbour, in the hope of somebody appearing. I never knew you and Mrs. Blake both absent at once. How happened it?”

When the story was told, Mr. Wallace praised the garden and the situation of the dwelling to the heart's content of the owner, who was always made eloquent by any allusions to his singular mode of life.

“Sir,” said he, “this plot of ground has produced to me something more valuable than ever grew out of a garden soil. It has gives me health, sir. My own hands have dug and planted and gathered, and see the fruits of my labour! Here I am, at seventy-nine, as strong as at forty. Not a grain of any drug have I swallowed since I came here; not a night's rest have I lost; not a want have I felt: for I pride myself on having few wants which my own Edition: current; Page: [15] hands cannot satisfy. I find no fault with other men's ways while they leave me mine. Let them choke one another up in towns if they choose, and stake their money, and lose their peace in trade. I did so once, and therefore I do not wonder that others try the experiment; but I soon had enough of it. I am thankful that I found a resting-place so early as I did.”

“You are very right, sir,” replied Mr. Wallace, “to judge for yourself only; for while men have different tempers and are placed in different circumstances, they cannot all find happiness in the same way. Even supposing every man possessed of the means of purchasing such an abode as this, your way of life would not suit persons of social dispositions, or those who wish to rise in the world, or those who have families to educate and provide for. I am glad to see you enjoy life; and I am glad that you allow others to enjoy it in a different way.”

“As long as they let me alone, I said, sir. I own I cannot look with any pleasure on what you are doing below; and I never shall, sir. It is very hard that we tenants of the wilderness cannot be left in peace. The birds will be driven from yonder wood, the fishes will be poisoned in the streams, and where my eye has rested with pleasure on the purple heath, I shall see brick walls and a column of smoke. I call this very hard; and though I mean no offence to you, sir, personally, I must say I wish you had carried your schemes anywhere else.”

“I am sorry our undertaking is so offensive Edition: current; Page: [16] to you,” said Mr. Wallace: “but I trust, when you see some hundreds of human beings thriving where there are now only woodcocks and trout, you will be reconciled to the change.”

“Never, sir, never. Let your gangs of labourers go where there is no beauty to be spoiled and no peaceable inhabitants to be injured. There is space enough in the wide world where they will be welcome.”

Mr. Hollins touched the arm of the stranger as a hint to vex the old man no further by opposition. Mr. Wallace therefore changed the course of conversation, and soon won the regard of his host by admiring his flowers and shrubs, and remarking on the fine promise of fruit, all which he could do with perfect sincerity. When he went away, Armstrong invited him to come whenever he liked, if—and here he sighed—he should remain in the neighbourhood.

“What do you think of my old friend?” asked Mr, Hollins, as he descended the hill with his companion.

“It gives one pleasure to see so fine an old man, and there are few who enjoy life so much at his age: but it would not do to have many fall in love with his way of living.”

“O no,” replied Mr. Hollins: “it is very well for one here and there who can afford it to indulge his own fancy as to his mode of life: but I do not know what the world would come to if our young men did no more for society than Armstrong. He takes up more room to much lees purpose than could be afforded to Edition: current; Page: [17] people in general. I really grudge the quantity of food I see rotting in his garden every year; and I am sure if he was aware how many thousands are in want of it, he would give up his peace and quiet for the sake of sharing it among them.”

“It would also be a great misfortune to any but so old a man to be cut off from all the advantages of society. The young would be ignorant and the aged prejudiced in such a state.”

“He is prejudiced,” said Mr. Hollins, “as you perceive. But we must make allowance for him.”

“I can do more than make allowance,” replied his friend. “I sincerely admire the activity and cheerfulness which are so unlike the temper we often meet with at so advanced an age. But while we account for your friend's prejudices by the circumstances of his life, it is no less true that men are not living in the right way who live to themselves alone.”


Under the active management of Mr. wallace, the establishment of the iron-work proceeded rapidly. It was set on foot on rather a Edition: current; Page: [18] small scale at first, there being but one furnace erected. There was a house built for Mr. Wallace and a great many dwellings for the labourers, so that the place presently bore the appearance of a village. It was reported that Mr. Wallace would be married before long, and bring his lady to his new house; and it was observed that if any of the other partners should come to reside, the place would be a thriving and pleasant one to live in. Though old Armstrong groaned at the mention of every new inhabitant, everybody else thought it would be an advantage to have as many people settled there as could be provided with employment.

There were several partners in this concern, though their names did not all appear in the firm. Mr. Leslie, the richest of them, lived in London and was a Member of Parliament. He advanced a great deal of money to carry on the works, but took no trouble in the business, besides signing his name to papers sometimes, and receiving his large profits when the accounts were made up. Mr. Cole was also rich. He held about one-third of the whole concern, and was far more interested in the proceedings than Mr. Leslie. He came now and then to see what was doing, found fault with everything, contradicted Mr. Wallace's orders, and when he had done all he could to put everybody out, went away, promising to repeat his visit by and by, and if he was better satisfied, to send his son to learn business and qualify himself to take a share in time. Mr. Bernard, the third partner, had Edition: current; Page: [19] sons whom he wished to be instructed in the management of an iron-work, and he resolved to settle himself and his whole family an the spot, and to be an acting partner. Mr. Wallace was very glad of this; for he was young and had not had much experience of business, and felt the responsibility of his present situation very great. He had a high opinion of Mr. Bernard in every way, and hoped that if his own zeal and industry were supported by the talent and experience of his partner, the concern would prosper. He was sorry that some time must elapse before the Bernard family could time came but this afforded the better opportunity for getting everything into order before their arrival.

Mr. Wallace was possessed of less property than any of his partners; but he held a good share of the concern in consideration of his devoting his whole time and exertions to business. His great-grandfather had begun the world without a shilling. He was a labourer, and by his skill and industry he managed to earn rather more than was sufficient to feed and clothe his family of four children. He thought within himself whether he should lay He the surplus to set his young people forward in the same way to life with himself, or whether he should give it them in the shape of such an education as he could procure for them. He was too sensible a man to think of spending money in indulgences for himself or them, for no better reason than that he had it by him. He chose the wisest way: he put out at interest a sum sufficient to Edition: current; Page: [20] secure him against want in case of sickness or old age, and employed the rest in giving his children a good plain education, which fitted them for a somewhat higher occupation than his own. His eldest son was first apprentice and then shopman to a linen-draper, and was at last made a partner, and left a little capital to his son, our Mr. Wallace's father, who stocked a shop and rose in the world so as to be able to leave his son a few thousand pounds, which he embarked, as we have seen, in an iron-work which promised large profits.

Mr. Wallace never forgot how his little fortune had come to him. He was accustomed to say to his friend Mr. Bernard, that it arose out of labour and grew by means of saving; and that if it was henceforth to increase, it must be in the same way: so he was not sparing of his labour, and was careful to spend less than his income that his capital might grow.

When he came to establish the iron-work, he did not bring all his own capital or that of his partners in the form of money. Their capital was divided into three parts—the implements of labour, the materials on which labour was to be employed, and the subsistence of the labourers; or—which is the same thing—the money which would enable the labourers to purchase their subsistence. In the first division were comprehended the blast-furnace, the refineries, the forge, and mill, with all their machinery, and the tools of the labourers. All these may be termed instruments of labour. In the second division were reckoned Edition: current; Page: [21] the iron ore, the coal and limestone, which were purchased with the estate. In the third division were included the wages of the work-people. This division of the capital would have remained unaltered whether the people had been paid for their labour in bread and clothes and habitations, or in wages which enabled them to purchase these necessaries. It was merely as a matter of convenience to both parties, that the wages were paid in money; and indeed, in some cases, the men preferred having a cottage and less wages, to more wages and no dwelling. However this matter was settled, Mr. Wallace always considered that his capital consisted of the three parts,—implements of labour, the materials on which labour is employed, and the subsistence of labourers. Capital may exist in one only of these forms, or in two, or, as we have seen, in three; but it cannot exist in any form which does not belong to one of these three divisions.

It gave Mr. Wallace great pleasure to go round the works and see how the employment of this capital afforded subsistence to nearly three hundred people, and to remember that the productions of their labour would promote the comfort and convenience of many hundreds or thousands more in the distant places to which the iron of this district was carried. He made this remark one day to his friend Mr. Hollins, when he was taking him round the works and pointing out what progress had been made since his last visit. “It is indeed rather better employed than if it were locked up in a chest,” said Mr. Hollins.

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“I wish we could persuade our old friend on the hill to invest his two hundred guineas in your concern. His daughter would be very glad of the proceeds; you would be glad of the increase of capital; more iron would be prepared for the use of society, more and more labourers provided for here.”

“Two hundred guineas would certainly go some little way towards procuring all these advantages, and the least of them would be preferable to letting the guineas lie by as useless as so many pebbles. Not one of all the owners of capital round us would be guilty of such a waste of the resources by which society must live.”

“And, pray, how many capitalists do you reckon beside yourself?” said a voice near.

The gentleman turned and saw a strange-looking figure standing just behind them, whom Mr. Wallace remembered to have seen repeatedly, within a few days. He was a strong, hearty-looking man of about thirty, with a cheerful countenance, but a most destitute appearance. His clothes hung in tatters about him; he had neither hat, shoes, nor stockings. He had lingered about the place for some time; now seating himself on the hills near and watching the labourers for hours, and then coming down to talk with them till sent away by the overlooker.

“Pray who may you be, friend?” asked Mr. Wallace.

“If it suits you to call me Paul, that name will do as well as another,” said the man. “And if you want to know my profession, I will tell Edition: current; Page: [23] you that I am just about making my choice; and if you further inquire what is my business here, I answer that I am come to suit myself.”

“Indeed! you seem to make very sure of suiting me,” said Mr. Wallace. “But I would have you know we allow no idlers on our premises.”

“Show me the hardest labourer in your works, and I will engage to do more than he.”

“In which department.”?

“Why, it would be bad policy to own oneself ignorant of all; so I came down this morning to find out which sort of labour is best paid; and to that I will swear myself equal. But I think I must begin humbly; so, suppose I take a pick and work at the tunnel? I wilt tell you to-morrow how my new way of life suits me. So good morning.”

“Stop, Sir. Let us hear a little of your old way of life, if you please. I should like to know where you picked up so much assurance. I thought you were a beggar and not a labourer. There is no difficulty in getting employment in this neighbourhood, and the lowest wages that ever were given would find you better clothing than that you have on”

“Very true,” said Paul. “You are right in every particular. I have been idle, as far as the labour of the hands is concerned, for nearly six months; but I have all the time been busy observing and reflecting, in which occupation my neighbours have been kind enough to indulge me, by giving me food as often as I said I was hungry.

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“And pray what were you six months ago?”

“That I will leave untold, that you may have the amusement of guessing how it is that I speak so little like either a beggar or a labourer. All that you are concerned with is, what I am now. I am a man with a strong pair of arms to work, and a strong mind to persevere.”

“I am afraid that you are too proud a gentleman to work under the eye of the overlooker, which you must do if you work for me at all.”

“What matters it to me where the overlooker stands, as long as he does not hinder my work? None but knaves fear being watched, and I am an honest man.”

“If your account of yourself be true, it is a pity you should be a beggar. I will call the overlooker and bid him set you to work.”

“First answer me, unless you have any objection, the question with which I introduced myself to you. Remember how many of your inquiries I have answered, and be pleased to observe that the tunnel-workmen are going to dinner, so that I have nearly an hour before me, which might hang heavy as I have no dinner to eat.”

The gentlemen were so amused at the oddity of this man, that they did not walk away, as many would have done after such a speech. Paul's manner, though free, was not disrespectful, and his language testified that he must have held a superior situation to that in which he now appeared.

“Am I to refer your hint about a dinner,” Edition: current; Page: [25] said Mr. Wallace, laughing, “to your old trade, or your new one? Are you begging your dinner, or do you wish for it as wages in advance?”

“Neither the one nor the other, sir. I used to wait for my dinner till seven for fashion's sake; and now I can wait till six for honesty's sake. By that time I hope to have earned my meat; and from the moment you promised me work, I gave up begging. I shall beg no more.”

Mr. Wallace thought, however, it would not be fair play to let Paul begin his labours hungry. He called to Briggs, one of the cokers, and asked if he had more dinner in his basket than he wanted. He had.

“Well, then, give this man some, and he will pay you to-night, and if he does not, I will.”

“And now,” said Paul, after apologizing for eating in the gentleman's presence, “will you tell me who are capitalists here besides yourself?”

“Every man about the works might be so, except perhaps yourself, Paul; and you may be a capitalist six hours hence.”

“That depends upon what we mean by the word,” said Paul, smiling. “Do you mean by capital, something produced with a view to further production, or any production which may be exchanged for some other production? There is a vast difference between the two.”

“A great difference indeed,” observed Mr. Hollins. “Parry, the overlooker, is a capitalist, for he has saved money enough to build yonder cottage, which he lets at a rent of five pounds Edition: current; Page: [26] a year; but is Briggs, the coker, a capitalist? He has property, I know; a bed, a table, and a few chairs, and other articles of furniture; but as these are not instrumental to further production, can they be called capital?”

“In a certain sense they might,” said Mr. Wallace; “for they might be turned into money, which could be employed productively. Furniture is one way of investing capital, though not a profitable one; but when I spoke of all our people being capitalists, I meant that all earned more than is absolutely necessary for them to spend; which is, I believe, the case, in the present prosperous state of our trade. Every man does, I believe, possess more than food for the hour, always excepting Paul: and that possession, whether it be a shilling or fifty pounds, is capital at the time it is received, whether it be afterwards invested in furniture, which might be sold again, or lent out at interest, or made productive in any other way.”

“But if that only is capital which is produced with a view to further production,” said Mr. Hollins, “I hope there are a good many among your three hundred labourers who are capitalists in this sense.”

“Several,” said Mr. Wallace; “and such I reckon benefactors to society; but there are also many who, having a roof over their heads and something to cover them, are satisfied, and spend all their earnings as fast as they get them in a way which brings no return. Such men become, sooner or later, a burden to the community.”

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A deep sigh from Paul made the gentlemen look at him, and they were struck with the melancholy expression of his countenance. When he saw that he was observed, he roused himself and put in his word again.

“I have heard people say you may see plants grow in a thunder-shower, and that the sun sees a baby grow in a summer's day; but neither is so easy to be seen as the growth of capital. I should like to be by at the opening of a new iron-work,—not with all the helps that we have about us here,—but where people had only their wits and their hands to depend upon. That would be the place to watch capital from its birth, through all the stages of its nursing till it was full grown like yours.”

“Let us hear your notion of the process, Paul.”

“I suppose it might occur to a shrewd man, finding a lump of the mineral melted in a very hot fire and hardened again, that it would make better tools than wood. He would heat his lump, and beat it with stones while it was hot, and bend it and notch it and sharpen it in a rude way, till he would be so much better off for tools than his neighbours, that they would try to get some like his. If they could not find any more ironstone, he would use his tools to dig or pick it out of the earth for them.”

“Then, Paul, his tools would be his capital.”

“Certainly: his tools would be capital arising from labour, and tending to further production. His neighbours would pay him well in such Edition: current; Page: [28] produce as they could spare for furnishing them with iron, and then they would all set about making tools. They would soon find that they could get on faster and better by dividing their labour; and so one would keep up the fire, and another would see that the ore flowed into the hole as it should do; and another would beat it while soft, and another would notch it into a saw, and another sharpen it into an axe.”

“Very well, then. As there must be labour before capital, there must be capital before division of labour.”

“To be sure. There would be nothing for them to divide their labour upon if they had not the ironstone, which is their capital as, much as the man's first tool is his.—The more tools they make, the more ore they can procure.”

“So the division of labour assists the increase of capital.”

“There is the beauty of it,” replied Paul. “They play into one another's hands. Labour makes capital; capital urges to a division of labour; and a division of labour makes capital grow. When the people we are talking of are all supplied with tools, (which have gone on improving all this time in the quality of the metal as well as the make of the implements,) they begin to traffic with the next district, bartering their manufacture for whatever productions they may agree to take in exchange. As their manufacture improves, they get more wealth; and then again, as they get more wealth, their manufacture improves; they find new devices for shortening Edition: current; Page: [29] their labour; they make machines which do their work better than their own hands could do it, till an iron-work becomes what we see it here,—a busy scene where man directs the engines whose labour he once performed; where earth and air and fire and water are used for his purposes as his will directs; and a hundred dwellings are filled with plenty where, for want of capital, men once wrapped themselves in skins to sleep on the bare ground, and cut up their food with flints. —-So, now that I have given you the natural history of capital as I read it, I will wish you good morning and go to my work.”

“Paul, you astonish me,” said Mr. Wallace. “How is it that one who understands so well the history of wealth should be so destitute?”

“Do not you know,” said Paul, turning once more as he was departing,—“do not you know that the bare-headed pauper understands well what is meant by a kingly crown? Do you not suppose that the hungry children who stand round a fruiterer's door see that a pine-apple is not a turnip? Then why should not I, clothed in rags, be able to speak of wealth? I told you my head had not been as idle as my hands. On yonder crag I have sat for weeks, watching the busy crowd below, as the stray sheep marks from a distance how the flock browses by day and is penned in the fold at night. The stray sheep may come back” experienced in pasturage, and not the worse for its fleece being torn by briar not; and I, for all my tatters, may, by tracing Edition: current; Page: [30] the fortunes of others as on a map, have discovered the best road to my own.”

As he said these last words, he held forth his hands, as if to intimate that they were to be the instruments of his fortune, and then, with a slight bow to the gentlemen, hastened to the tunnel where he was appointed to work, leaving his companions to express to one another their curiosity and surprise.


The report that Mr. Wallace was going to be married was true. He disappeared in course of time; and when his agent said he was gone to London on business and would soon be back, everybody guessed that he would not return alone. It was observed that the house appeared to be very elegantly furnished, and the garden laid out as if for a lady's pleasure; and the curricle and pair of ponies, which took their place in the coach-house and stables, were luxuries which Mr. Wallace would not have procured for himself.

A murmur of surprise and pleasure ran through the place one Sunday morning when this curricle Edition: current; Page: [31] was seen standing at Mr. Wallace's door. Nobody knew that he was home except the agent, who was now remembered to have been particularly strict the previous night about having the whole establishment in good order. Before many gazers could gather round the carriage, Mr. Wallace appeared with a lady on his arm. She looked young and elegant, to judge by her figure, but she was closely veiled, and never once looked up to make any acknowledgment of the bows of the men who stood hat in hand, or of the curtseys of the women. Mr. Wallace spoke to two or three who stood nearest, and nodded and smiled at the others, and then drove off, fearing that they should be late for church.

When a turn in the road had hid from them all traces of human habitation, the lady threw back her veil and began to look about her, and to admire the charms of hill, dale, and wood, which her husband pointed out to her. She had much taste for natural beauties of this kind; and to this her husband trusted for the removal of a set of prejudices which gave him great concern. She was very amiable when among persons of her own rank of life; but, from having associated solely with such, she felt awkward and uncomfortable when obliged to have communication with any others. The poor in her neighbourhood, who saw her beautifully dressed and surrounded with luxuries, while she never bestowed a word or a look on them, supposed her to be very proud, and did not love her the more for all the money she gave away in charity; but she Edition: current; Page: [32] was not proud,—only shy. This her husband knew; and as he liked to keep up a good understanding; with everybody about him, and was familiar with the ways of his neighbours, whether high or low, he trusted to bring her round to habits of intercourse with all in turn, and to relieve her from an awkwardness which must be more distressing to herself than to anybody else. While she was standing up in the carriage, pointing out with eagerness the beauty of the situation of the town, her husband checked the horses, and held out his hand to somebody whom they had overtaken on the road. Mrs. Wallace instantly sat down, and drew her veil round her face, and put but little grace into her manner when her husband introduced his friend and neighbour, Mr. Armstrong, to whom he had promised on her behalf that she should pay a visit to his cottage some day. Mr. Armstrong replaced his hat when aware of the coldness of the lady's behaviour, and after one or two civil inquiries about her journey, begged he might not detain her, and returned to the pathway. She was considerably surprised to learn that she should see him again presently at church, as he sat in the same pew. There was a corner in this pew which had been his own for some years; and it was not the intention of Mr. Wallace, or the desire of his lady when she heard the circumstances, that he should be put out of his accustomed place for the sake of a new comer.

The new comer scarcely knew, however, what to think or do when Armstrong took his seat Edition: current; Page: [33] beside her after the service had begun. The clatter of his hob-nailed shoes as he entered, the ease with which he flung down his hat, and then stood a minute to smooth his hair and look round upon the congregation before he composed himself in his snug corner, were all strange to her: but she was most startled by the strength with which he put forth his tremulous voice in the psalm. He was heard far above all the other singers which would have been very well if he had been thirty years younger, for he understood music and bad a good ear; but considering that his voice was cracked and quavering with age, it was desirable that lie should now moderate its power. When the psalm was over, Mrs. Wallace drew a long breath, and hoped that she should grow accustomed to this sort of music in time.

“I wish somebody would give Mr. Armstrong a hint not to sing so loud,” said she, when again in the curricle, after having undergone some bridal introductions.

“It does not disturb those who are used to it, as I am afraid it did you to-day. I should have prepared you for it, but I forgot to mention it. When you hear him play the flute you will pardon his singing.”

“What a wonderful thing for a man of eighty to have breath to play the flute!”

“Every thing belonging to him is extraordinary, as you will see when we pay him a visit, which we will do to-morrow.”

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“Why not this evening? The sooner it is over the better, if we must go.”

“He will not be at home till dark this evening; and besides, I want you to visit him and his housekeeper in the midst of their week-day business. You can form no idea of his usual appearance from seeing him in his Sunday trim.”

“I cannot tell what to expect, then, for I am sure he is like nobody else to-day. But what a pleasant countenance he has, when one has presence of mind to observe it!”

“I hoped you would think so.”

“But where will he be this afternoon?”

“Worshipping God after his own fashion, as he says. In the morning he pays his devotions after the manner of society,—the last social custom he has retained. In the afternoon, when the weather is fine, he climbs yonder peak, with a microscope in his pocket and his telescope in his hand, and there he by turns examines the heaths and mosses under foot, and looks out for fleets on the far horizon, repeating at intervals with the full power of his voice, the hundred and fourth-—his favourite psalm.”

“That is beautiful!” cried Mrs. Wallace. “O let us go to-morrow. Let us go very often if he will let us.”

On the next evening, accordingly, they went. Armstrong was employed in his garden, looking less like the owner of so beautiful a spot of ground than the humblest of labourers. His hat was brown and unshapely, and his frock earth-stained. Edition: current; Page: [35] He stretched out his hard hand to the lady when she appeared, and bade her welcome. The housekeeper did not show herself, as her maxim was, that it was time enough to come when she was called.

As Mrs. Wallace was not tired, and as she perceived that the old man was happier in his garden than any where else, she proposed that he should show her on what plan he arranged and tilled it. It proved very unlike any garden she had ever seen, having all the beauty of wildness, but poorly cultivated and laid out in a wasteful manner. It consisted of three distinct portions,— one, half-orchard, half-shrubbery, where lilacs grew luxuriantly out of the turf, and fruit-trees bordered the green walks; another half potato-field, half kitchen-plot; and a third which might have been a lady's pleasure-garden. This part was better taken care of than the rest, and was the old man's pride. It sloped towards the south, and was hedged in so securely that none could overlook it, and it was no easy matter to find its entrance. A well in the midst of a plot of turf, was as picturesque an object as could have been placed in the nook near the entrance. Strawberry beds occupied the sloping bank, and borders crowded with rich flowers completed the beauty of the whole.

“These gravel walks suit a lady's feet better than the grass in the orchard,” said Armstrong. I must find time to mow those paths some day soon.”

“I should think you must be at a loss sometimes,” Edition: current; Page: [36] observed Mrs. Wallace, “to know what task to set about first, as you will let nobody help you.”

“I assure you, madam, I often think of Eve's dilemma of the same kind. But if men had no worse perplexities than how to choose between a variety of pleasant tasks, ours would be a very happy world.”

“But Eve would have been glad of help if she could have had it as easily as you. She would have set one to train the branches, and another to remove the fallen blossoms, and another to water the young shoots, while she tied up the roses as before.”

“Not if she had known, as I know, the mischief that arises as soon as people begin to join their labours. There is no preserving peace and honesty but by keeping men's interests separate. When I look down, sir, upon your establishment there, I say to myself that I had rather live where I am if I had only a tenth part of this ground and one room in my cottage, than own youder white house and be master of three hundred labourers.”

Mr. Wallace smiled, and would have changed the conversation, knowing the uselessness of reasoning about the advantages of society with one whose passion was for solitude; but his wife's curiosity and the old man's love of the subject soon caused them to return to the topic.

“I should like to know,” said Mrs. Wallace, “what is it that shocks you so much in our doings below.”

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She could not have made a more welcome inquiry. Armstrong was eloquent upon the inelegance of smoke, and rows of houses, and ridges of cinders, and all the appearances which attend an iron-work, and appealed to his guest as a lady of taste, whether such a laying waste of the works of nature was not melancholy. Mrs. Wallace could not agree that it was. It was true that a grove was a finer object at this distance than a. cinder-ridge, and that a mountain-stream was more picturesque than a column of smoke; but there was beauty of a different kind which belonged to such establishments, and to which she was sure Mr. Armstrong would not be blind if he would only come down and survey the works. There was in the first place the beauty of the machinery. She thought it could not but gratify the taste to see how men bring the powers of nature under their own control by their own contrivances; how the wind and the fire are made to act in the furnace so that the metal runs out in a pure stream below; how, by the application of steam, such a substance as iron is passed between rollers, and compressed and shaped by them as easily as if it were potter's clay, and then cut into lengths like twigs.

Armstrong shook his head, and said this was all too artificial for him; and that granting (as he did not deny) that nature worked as much as man in these processes, she worked in another way which was not so beneficial,— in men's hearts, making them avaricious, deceitful, and envious,”

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“I was going to say,” replied Mrs. Wallace, “that there is another sort of beauty in such establishments, which I prefer to that I was speaking of. I know nothing more beautiful than to see a number of people fully employed, and earning comforts for themselves and each other. If people obtain their money as they want it, they are less likely to be avaricious than if it came to them without exertion on their part; because the energy which they give to the pursuit in the one case is likely to fix itself upon its rewards in the other. I do not know of any particular temptation to deceit or envy where all have their appointed labour and a sufficient reward without interfering with one another.”

“I have seen enough of the tricks of trade,” said the old man.

“You have been unfortunate, as I have understood,” said Mr. Wallace; “but it does not follow that there is knavery wherever there is social industry, any more than that every one has such a pretty place as this to retire to in case of disgust with the world. But as I was going to add to my wife's description, there appears to me not less beauty in the mechanism of society than in the inventions of art.”

“That is you being a master, like to survey the ranks of slaves under you.”

“Not so,” said Mr. Wallace mildly, for he was not inclined to resent the petulence of the old man. “There is no slavery, no enforced labour, no oppression, that I am aware of, in our establishment. Masters and men agree upon Edition: current; Page: [39] measures of mutual service, and the exertions of each party are alike necessary to the success of their undertaking.”

“It may be so just now, because your trade is flourishing more than it ever was before, and labour is scarce, and your people are well paid; but they will not be long contented. When prices fall and wages must come down, they will discover that they are slaves.”

“Never,” replied Mr. Wallace, “for this reason: there is no bond of mutual interest between master and slave, as there is between the capitalist and the free labourer. It matters nothing to the slave whether his master employs his capital actively or profitably or not; while this is the all-important consideration between the free labourer and his employer. It is the interest of our men and ourselves that the productiveness of our trade should be increased to the utmost; that we should turn out as much work as possible, and that therefore we should improve our machinery, divide our labour to the best advantage, and bring all our processes to the greatest possible perfection. All our labourers there fore, who understand their own interest, try to improve their industry and skill: while, if they were slaves and their lot did not depend on their own exertions, they would probably be careless and indolent. In such a case, 1 should have no more pleasure than you in surveying our establishment, if indeed such an one could exist.”

“You are the first iron-master, the first master Edition: current; Page: [40] of any kind, whom I ever heard declare that both parties in such a concern had a common interest.”

“I am surprised at that,” replied Mr. Wallace, “for no truth appears to me more evident. How many classes have you been accustomed to consider concerned in production?”

Armstrong laughed, while he pointed significantly to himself, and then looked about him.

“You unite in yourself the functions of Capitalist and Labourer,” replied Mr. Wallace; “but yours is, I am happy to say, an uncommon case.”

“You are happy to say?”

“Yes; for if all men had followed your mode of life to this day, there would have been no iron-work nor any other sort of manufacture in existence, and life would have been barbarous in comparison with what it is, and there would have been few in comparison born to enjoy it. You would yourself have been a sufferer. You would have had no spade and no scythe, no bucket for your well, no chain for your bucket, no newspaper in the morning, and no Farmer's Journal in the afternoon. Since you owe all these things and a thousand others to the co-operation of capitalists and labourers, my dear sir, it seems rather ungracious to despise such a union.”

“Well, sir, you shall have it your own way. How many classes of producers do you reckon?”

“Speaking of manufacturing produce, I reckon Edition: current; Page: [41] two,—the two I have mentioned; and I never listen to any question of their comparative value, since they are both necessary to production.”

“I should have thought Labour more valuable than Capital,” said Mrs. Wallace, “because it must have been in operation first. The first material must have been obtained, the first machine must have been made, by labour.”

“True. Capital owes its origin to labour; but labour is in its turn assisted and improved by capital to such a degree that its productiveness is incalculably increased. Our labourers could no more send ship-loads of bar-iron abroad without the help of the furnace and forge and machinery supplied by their masters, than their masters without the help of their labour.”

“Then the more valuable this capital is, the more abundant the material wrought, the more perfect the machinery, the better for the labourer. And yet all do not think so.”

“Because those who object to machinery do not perceive its true nature and office. Machinery, as it does the work of many men, or that which it would take one man a long time to do, may he be viewed as. hoarded labour. This, being set to work in addition to natural labour, yields a greatly-increased produce; and the gains of the capitalist being thus increased, he employs a yet larger portion of labour with a view to yet further gains; and so a perpetual progress is made.”

“Not without drawbacks, however,” said Edition: current; Page: [42] Armstrong. “Do not forget the consequent failure of demand.”

“That is only a temporary evil: for when the market is overstocked, prices fall; and when the price has fallen, more people can afford to buy than bought before, and so a new demand grows up. If printing and paper-making, for instance, were still unknown, we should have no newspapers; if the machinery were very imperfect, they would be so expensive as to be within reach of none but the wealthy; but, as the produce of both arts is abundant and therefore cheap, we find newspapers in every alehouse, and if it were not for a duty which has nothing to do with their production, we should see them lying in many a cottage window. Thus the public are equally obliged to the owners of printing presses and their workmen. These workmen are obliged to the masters whose capital sets them to work; and the masters are obliged to their men for the labour which sets their presses going. All are gainers by the co-operation of Labour and Capital.”

“I was very near doing a thing the other day,” said Armstrong, “which would have made you suppose that I was going to adopt some of your notions. I had observed a man lingering about the hills———”

“Is his name Paul?”

“I never asked; but he was a beggar, covered with rags who used to sit for hours watching what went on below. I was so persuaded that Edition: current; Page: [43] he was of my opinion about your doings, that I became quite interested in him.”

“You liked him for being neither a labourer nor a capitalist?”

“Not quite so,” said Armstrong laughing; “for I would not have the poor become beggars. I was just going to ask him to help me to get my garden into winter order, when I found he had secured a cell in your hive. I was quite disappointed.”

“That the drone had become a busy bee, or that he had left you to gather in your own stores?”

“My hands are sufficient for my own business, as they have ever been,” said Armstrong. “But I was sorry that the man forfeited his independence, which was the very thing I liked in him.”

“Will you continue to pity him when you see his tatters exchanged for decent clothing, his bare head housed in a snug dwelling, and his independent tastes gratified by the beauty of his flower-beds and the luxury of a book to amuse his winter evenings? Paul seems to me a very extraordinary man. I expect soon to see him circumstanced as I have described, for he works with might and main, and I imagine has rather a different notion of independence from yours.”

In order to give Mrs. Wallace a distinct idea of what his own passion for independence was, Mr. Armstrong invited her into his house, and shewed her all his plans for waiting upon, and employing, and amusing himself. He was not Edition: current; Page: [44] satisfied with her admiring his fishing-tackle, his fowling-piece, his flute, and his books; he wanted her to acknowledge that there was more security and peace in his mode of life than any other;-—a somewhat unreasonable thing to expect from a bride whose husband was so differently engaged. She could not in this respect satisfy him; but she endeavoured to conquer the shyness she felt coming on when Margaret made her appearance, and to converse with her in her own style; and when the lady and gentleman at length departed, they expressed with equal warmth their hopes that the old man would long continue to find his mode of life secure and peaceful. They little imagined, at the moment, what was soon to happen,—they little knew when they discussed his favourite notions over their breakfast-table the next morning, what had already happened, to overthrow his sense of security for ever.

After parting with his guests, Armstrong stood for some time at the top of the rocky steps, watching the two figures winding down the hill in the twilight. Then he recollected that he had been interrupted in watering some choice plants, and hastened to finish his task. When he had hung up his bucket, and put away his tools, and seen that his gate was fastened, he leaned upon it, watching the last fading of the sky, and listening to the brook as it rippled along. His meditations took their character in part from the preceding conversation; for while he repeated to himself how much pleasanter it was to observe Edition: current; Page: [45] and love nature than to gather wealth, he could not drive from his mind the question which had been often asked him, of what use his gold was to him: and when he thanked God for having given him enough for his simple wants, it occurred to him whether he ought not to dispose of the wealth he did not use for the benefit of others; especially as there was a way of doing so,—by putting it out to circulate and bear interest,—by which it might be useful without losing any of its value. While so many were in want, could it be right in him to hoard? While so many could advantageously employ capital, could it be right that any should lie by idle?— Such thoughts were not at all out of place in a religious meditation; for the best part of religion is to imitate the benevolence of God to man; and every study to do this is a religious contemplation.

Armstrong's mind was so full of this subject, that when the darkness sent him in doors, he could not settle, as usual, to the Farmer's Journal. He stirred his evening fire, and played the flute a little, and wound up his watch, and then, supposing he must be very tired with seeing company, he went early to bed. He did not sleep, directly, however; he heard Margaret for some time murmuring to herself, as she often did when darning stockings alone; then she tried the fastenings of the doors and windows, raked out the fire, and went into her own room, where he heard her slip the bolt, as usual. The boasted security of the master of this cottage did not prevent Edition: current; Page: [46] its inhabitants from using as many precautions against enemies as the richest merchant in London. Nor were these precautions needless.

About three hours after, when Armstrong was sound asleep, he began to dream very uncomfortably of strange noises which he took to proceed from the machinery of the iron-work, and of a cold blast which proceeded from the furnace when he expected a hot one. This dream appeared to last very long, though it had in reality passed through his brain in a few moments, at the end of which time he was completely roused by a creak and screech of the latticed window of his room, the cold air having blown upon him as it was opened. He started up and saw a man leaning in at the window as if on the point of entering Armstrong seized the pistol he always kept by him and fired. The man retreated, but apparently not wounded; for after some whisperings without, a dark form again appeared at the lattice, and others moved behind.

“I will shoot as many of you as dare to come to the window,” cried Armstrong with his loudest voice, “I am well armed, so shew yourselves at your peril.”

He fired again, but the figure had the instant before retreated. On listening for a moment, Armstrong thought the thieves were gone round to attack some other point of entrance. He hastily closed the window, and upreared the chimney hoard against it that he might at least hear if they returned to his chamber. He then thundered at Margaret's door; for which there Edition: current; Page: [47] was little occasion, as she was up and crying out to know what was the matter.

“Thieves; but not in the house; so make haste and get a light.”

This was presently done, and it then appeared that Margaret had as much courage as her master. She valiantly brandished the poker while he reloaded his pistols; and they both made so much noise in the intervals of listening, that unless the thieves were well informed that there were only two people in the house, they might have supposed there were half a dozen. It was impossible to find out whether they remained at hand or not. Windows and doors shook and rattled many times before daylight; but whether acted upon by human hands or by the autumn night-wind, was never known. “Hark!” was said by one or the other of the watchers perpetually, and they wandered from window to door and from door to window till dawn, and then very naturally started at their own shadows in the twilight.

Upon examination, which they ventured at sunrise, footsteps were visible all round the cottage; but there were no marks of blood, of which Armstrong was glad, among other reasons, because he detested the idea of a prosecution, and was willing that the thieves should escape punishment, provided he could get over the affair quietly.

“What do you mean to do next?” Margaret ventured to ask when he had done ruminating over his breakfast.

“I have made up my mind,” he replied, “and Edition: current; Page: [48] I do not mean to change it. We are neither of as to say a syllable of what has happened.”

Margaret nodded, for this was what she expected.

“Can you fire a pistol, Margaret?”

She had never tried, but she had no doubt she could.

“Very well; then you will do to stay with me, if you choose to comply with my conditions. If we tell what has happened, it will put it into other people's heads to attack us: and it will do no good to remove the chest, now that I have the reputation of having one. It must be for that they came. You and I will watch by turns this winter, one going to bed at dark to sleep till midnight, and then watching while the other sleeps till dawn. Now, Margaret, will you stay or go?”

Margaret asked a little time for consideration, which was of course given. By dinner-time she was ready with her assent to the plan. Not many women would have given it; but attachment to her master and her office prevailed over the few fears she had, and the condition of silence would not be difficult to observe if, as she expected, she should see nobody for some months, unless indeed it should be the thieves themselves.

Armstrong was again haunted with the idea that it would have been better to allow his gold to circulate so that it would be robbed of none of its value to himself, than to risk its being obtained by others in such a way as that he should lose the whole.

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The iron trade continued for some time after this to be so flourishing, that Mr. Wallace found himself at length quite unequal to the pressure of business which rested wholly on him. He wrote so repeatedly and urgently to Mr. Bernard on this subject, that that gentleman hastened the settlement of his affairs, that he might remove himself and his family into Mr. Wallace's neighbourhood. He owned that after his young partner had found the management of an iron-work with one furnace as much as he could manage, it was unreasonable to leave all the business to him when there were four, and when the demand for iron was so brisk that the utmost diligence could not enable them to answer all the orders they received. Instead of three hundred, upwards of eleven hundred labourers were now employed about the works. More and more capital was daily employed in the concern: and it was abundantly supplied as capital always is, where such speedy and profitable returns are made as in the iron trade, at the time we speak of. Many a man who found himself getting on but slowly in a manufacture of another kind, endeavoured to obtain a share in the iron-work. Many a farmer threw up his farm, and went into South Wales to find a more profitable settlement. Many a capitalist withdrew his money from concerns in London, or elsewhere, where he had received Edition: current; Page: [50] moderate interest for it, and invested it where the highest legal interest was willingly given. Even ladies, who had small properties in the funds, transferred them to the hands of any ironmaster they might happen to be acquainted with, and were much delighted with their increase of income. Some experienced people who observed this vast flow of capital towards one point, predicted unpleasant results. The immediate consequences were agreeable enough, they allowed. Iron-works were established, wherever a promising situation could be found. Smokes arose from a hundred places where the hills where all before had been a mountain solitude. The cottages of well-paid labourers multiplied everyday; and prosperity seemed, at last, to have visited the working classes in an equal proportion with their masters. But the quantity of iron prepared was so great, that it seemed scarcely possible that the demand could long remain as brisk as at present. Any one who observed the trains of waggons on the rail-roads of the various works, or the traffic on the canals, or the shipments at Newport and Cardiff, would have wondered where a market could be found for such a quantity of metal; but as long as the masters found it impossible to keep any stock by them, or even to supply their orders, they were very sanguine about the continuance of their prosperity, and went on fearlessly enlarging their works in number and extent, regardless of the warnings offered them that a glut must be the consequence.

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Mr. Wallace and his partners were more prudent than most of their neighbours. They were mindful enough of the probability of change to be careful how much they invested as fixed capital, which could not be easily withdrawn or transferred in case of a change of times.

Fixed Capital, that is, money laid out in land, buildings, machinery, and tools, is a necessary part of the property of every one who endeavours to increase his wealth. The farmer must have not only land to produce grain, but ploughs and harrows to prepare the soil, sickles to reap the corn, waggons to carry it away, barns to store it in, &c., if he means to make the utmost profit he can of his produce. He thus increases his wealth by fixing his capital, though his tools and buildings and horses do not directly afford him any profit like his circulating capital. That which is commonly called circulating capital is the wealth laid out with an immediate view to farther production; such as the farmer's seed-corn, and the wages of his labourers. But as nothing is said in the word circulating about this farther production, we had rather find a better word. Reproducible seems to us the right term. Thus, the manufacturer's raw silk and cotton, the farmer's seed-corn, or the sheep and oxen he intends to sell again, the iron-master's coal and iron-stone, and that which is paid by all in the shape, of wages, are reproducible capital, because it comes back to its owner when it has fulfilled its purpose and procured a profit. It is clear that the business which requires the least fixed Edition: current; Page: [52] capital in proportion to the reproducible capital must be the least in danger from a change of times. The wine-merchant, whose fixed capital consists only of cellars, casks, hampers, and a cart and horses, has less of his wealth locked up in a useless form in bad times than the silk or cotton manufacturer, who has his factories, his steam-engine, and all the machinery connected with it. Both may have a large stock, the one of wine, the other of raw or wrought silk or cotton; both may complain of having their reproducible capital made unproductive by a failure of demand; but he is the worst off who has the largest proportion of fixed capital locked up at the same time. On a smaller scale, the basket-maket risks less in bad times than the baker. The one has merely his shed, and his block, and knife for his fixed, and osiers for his reproducible, capital; while the other has his bakehouse, ovens, bins, yeast-pails, and many other articles as his fixed capital; and flour and fuel for his reproducible capital. If a demand for baskets and for bread should ever cease, the baker would have a much larger capital laid by useless than the basket-maker.

A very large fixed capital is necessary in an iron-work, and of a kind too which cannot be turned to any other account in bad times. Land may generally be made to produce something which is in demand; sheds and waggons and horses may be used for a variety of purposes; but blast-furnaces and forges serve no object but that for which they were erected. There is, therefore, a Edition: current; Page: [53] degree of risk in thus investing capital which ought to make reflecting men very watchful in their calculations, and very cautious in extending their works even in the best times. Mr. Wallace and his partners were thus cautious, while some of their neighbours, flushed with the present prosperous state of their trade, erected their works in magnificent style, and to such au extent that one would have thought they had a contract for supplying the world with iron for ever. The firm thought themselves justified in erecting new furnaces to the number we have mentioned; but a judicious economy was consulted in the mode of building; an economy which was smiled at by many who appeared as lavish of money and fond of splendour in respect of their furnaces, as of their dwelling-houses.

Mr. Wallace's impatience that his acting-partner should come and see and approve what was done, was at length gratified. A letter was received one day announcing that Mr. Bernard, his two sons, his three daughters, and their governess, would arrive to a late dinner on the next Wednesday. It was a winter day, and darkness had come on long before there were any tokens of the approach of the party. The housekeeper (who had come some time before) listened to the blustering wind, and then looked at the clock, now trembling for the safety of her young masters and mistresses, and then vexed that her good dinner should be spoiled by the delay. Mrs. Wallace sent more than once to know whether Edition: current; Page: [54] the travellers had arrived. A crowd of little children, who had gathered together, unmindful of the cold, to cheer the carriage as soon as it appeared, were called home to bed by their mothers. The overlooker pronounced that there would be no arrival that evening, and every body at last hoped there would not, as the roads among the hills were very wild and dreary, and morning was the best time to pass along them. The travellers were approaching, however, all this time. The last stage was a very irksome one to horses and driver, and not very pleasant to those inside. No care could keep out the cold wind which obliged the driver to tie on his hat, and which terrified the child of three years old who hid her face in her papa's bosom every time the gust roared among the hills. Another little girl pressed close to her governess, and the lads themselves wished that it had not been so dark; for it was impossible to keep the lamps lighted. Their father and Mrs. Sydney—the lady who educated their sisters—tried to amuse them by talking cheerfully; but whenever they stopped for a moment, some little voice was sure to ask “How far have we to go now?” “Shall we get home to-night?” “How late will it be when we get home?”

“How dark, how very dark it is!” cried Francis. “I cannot make out whether there is a hill on each side of us, or whether it is the black sky.”

“It is the sky,” said his brother John. “I Edition: current; Page: [55] see a fiery flush on this side, which I suppose comes from some iron-work near. How it brightens every moment!”

“Ah ha! we shall have light enough presently,”[said his father. “We are nearer home than I thought. That light comes from behind the hill, and when we reach the turn of the road, we shall see a good fire, though we shall not feet one this half hour.”

In a moment the carriage turned the corner, and the children started up, forgetting cold and hunger and fear, to gaze at the extraordinary scene before them. Strange sounds rose when the gust fell—a roaring] like that of a mighty wind, which their father told them was caused by the blast of the furnaces; and a hissing and rumbling which came from the machinery of the forge and mill. These buildings stood on a level beneath a sort of terrace, faced with stone, on which were placed the kilns where the ironstone is calcined ready to be put in at the top of the furnace. On this terrace also was the coke-hearth, where the coal was burning in a long ridge open to the sky. The flame blazed and flickered, and shot up in red and white spires, and disappeared and kindled again, as the wind rose and fell; and there were black figures of men, brandishing long rakes, sometimes half-hidden by red smoke, and sometimes distinctly marked against a mass of flame. At some distance were rows of twinkling lights almost too faint to be seen after looking at the furnaces. These were in the cottages of the work-people. Edition: current; Page: [56] Farther off was a solitary light, so far raised as to give the idea that it came from a house on a hill. The children eagerly asked if this light shone from their home. No; it must be Mr. Wallace's house; but their own really was near now. Accordingly, when they had passed another reach of the road in utter darkness, and had heard a gate swing, and knew by the crashing sound that the carriage was on a gravel road, they saw an open hall-door, and knew the figure of the housekeeper as she stood ready to welcome them.

The children grew sleepy as they grew warm, and forgot the irksomeness of their journey; and having made a good supper from what was to have been dinner, they crept to their beds and were presently asleep.

Mr. Wallace arrived before breakfast was over the next morning, to welcome his partner and accompany him down to the works. He brought a message from his wife that she hoped to call on Mrs. Sydney and the young ladies during the forenoon. Accordingly, soon after the gentlemen were gone, the little carriage drawn by a brace of sleek ponies, and containing this elegant young personage wrapped up in furs, appeared before the door. Mrs. Wallace's extreme shyness infected the young people, who were just of an age to be reserved with strangers; and Mrs. Sydney, who was always at her ease, found it very difficult to maintain the conversation. Mrs. Wallace had seen no one high or low, in the neighbourhood, except Mr. Armstrong. She Edition: current; Page: [57] did not appear interested in the manufacture going on before her eyes. She admired those parts of the country which remained green and wild, and this appeared the only subject on which she had had thing to say. Mrs. Sydney's chief interest was respecting the eleven hundred people, and the families to which they belonged, who were placed in such near neighbourhood; but she presently found that she must learn all that she wanted to know of them for herself, instead of being guided by the lady who had lived among them for so many months.

While Mrs. Wallace was blushing and rising from her seat preparatory to taking her leave, the gentlemen returned. They had come to propose that, as it was a clear, calm day, the party should, view the works and become acquainted at once with the place and people among whom they were to live. Mrs. Wallace drew back, evidently wishing to be excused; but her husband urged that it was a good opportunity for doing what she could not be expected to do while she had no lady-companion; and Mrs. Sydney seemed to think the proceeding so very desirable as well as pleasant, that it was soon agreed that the whole party should go together and on foot; the curricle being sent away with orders to return for its mistress in two hours.

Mr. Wallace explained how the ironstone, or mine as it is called, is calcined in the kilns upon the terrace which we have described. He shewed how this substance, cleansed in the kiln from Edition: current; Page: [58] clay and other impurities, is put into the furnace at the top with the coke and the limestone which are burned with it, the coke to keep the whole burning, and the limestone to unite with the mixtures of the ironstone, so that the ore may be separated pure. They saw the filler at his stand near the top of the furnace,—at the tunnel head, as it is called, pouring in at the doors the materials which were furnished from the terrace. They saw the furnace-keeper below, as intent upon his work as if his life depended on it, watching the appearance of the cinder as it was thrown off, and regulating the blast accordingly. He took no notice of any body being by, and never looked up or spoke or changed countenance.

“How intent that man is on his business!” said Mrs. Sydney to Mr. Bernard. “I suppose his office is a very important one.”

“Very important indeed. The quality of the iron produced by this furnace depends mainly on his care. It may be, and often is, ruined without his being able to help it or even knowing why; but it would certainly be spoiled without incessant care on his part.

“Is it from pure fear of spoiling his work that he is so engrossed with it, or are his wages regulated by produce of the furnace?”

“We find so much depend on the care of the men who break the limestone and prepare the coke, and burn the mine, and fill and keep the furnace, that they are all paid by the ton of iron Edition: current; Page: [59] produced, in order to secure their mutual help aud the proper regulation of the whole.”

“Well, I should be sorry if this man should suffer by the carelessness of any of the people overhead; for I never saw any thing more perfect than his own attention.”

“He is an extraordinary man,” said Mr. Wallace, who stood within hearing. “I cannot discover the motive to such indefatigable industry and frugality as his. He has worked his way up in a few months from being one of our lowest order of labourers to his present situation. He was a beggar when we first set him to work in excavating the tunnel; and he looks like a beggar still, though he accomplishes more work and lays by more money than any man among our people.”

“I wondered to see him so ill-dressed,” observed Mr. Bernard.

“I told him yesterday,” said Mr. Wallace, “that I expected to see him decently clothed, knowing, as I did, that he earned a great deal of money, and laid it all by in the Monmouth Savings Bank, except what is barely sufficient to procure him shelter and daily food.”

“Has he neither wife nor family to support?”

“He seems not to have a relation or acquaintance in the world. He speaks to nobody but the overlooker and myself.”

“And what sort of intercourse have you with him?”

“I converse with him as often as we can both spare time, and always with pleasure; for he is Edition: current; Page: [60] well, I might say highly, educated, and has the speech and manners of a gentleman.”

“How strange! And do not you know where he comes from, and what brought him?”

“I know nothing of him but that he is a genius and a miser—two characters which are rarely seen united. Paul keeps his own counsel so perfectly as to who he is and whence he comes, that nay curiosity is very strongly excited, and I would take some pains to get at the bottom of the mystery, if I did not feel that every man has a right to his own secret. He is an industrious and faithful servant to me, and that is all I have any business with.”

Mrs. Sydney ventured so far as to put a question to Paul; but he was just going to tap the furnace, i. e. to let out the fused iron,—a very important operation,—and was therefore too busy to answer her.

“I will bring you together after working-hours some day,” whispered Mr. Wallace to her. “If we should meet him taking his ramble on a Sunday, or when, as now and then happens, we put somebody in his place to relieve him for a day, he will be more disposed for conversation than now. He is sociable enough when he falls in with any one whom he thinks worthy of being talked to.”

“I am afraid we shall be quite looked down upon by such a high and mighty personage,” said Mrs. Sydney, laughing. But Mr. Wallace promised to draw him out.

The party then proceeded to the refinery where Edition: current; Page: [61] the pig-iron is refined, and to the forge and mill where it is formed into bars. They saw the refiners take it by turns to run out their moulds of metal; and the weigher who examines their work and keeps an account of it; and the puddler at the forge who improves the quality of the metal by another refining process; and the shingler who hammers the balls of metal into an oblong form for going through the roll; and the roller and his catcher who stand on each side of the rolling machine, and put the bar into a smaller roll every time it is handed from one to the other; and the straighteners who straighten the bars while they are hot, and mark them with the stamp of the wolks where they are made; and the bar-weighers who examine the finished work; and the clerks or superintendents who conduct the whole. The youths were as much struck as the ladies with the graudeur of the scale on which the manufacture was carried on, and with the ingenuity of the contrivances for aiding and saving labour.

“What a sum of money must have been laid out here!” cried Francis.

“And what a quantity of labour that money has brought into operation!” observed Mrs. Sydney.

“Yes, but there is nothing so very remarkable in seeing eleven hundred people at work, as in observing what comes of such aa outlay of capital.”

“It was not merely the labour of eleven hundred pairs of hands that I was speaking of,” replied Edition: current; Page: [62] Mrs. Sydney, “but of the hoarded labour which does what no unassisted human hands could do; the shears and the rollers, and all the complicated machinery which enables us to treat iron as it were wood or clay. I suppose, Mr. Wallace, you are free from complaints about the use of machinery; as your works are of a kind which cannot be done by hand?”

“At present we hear no complaints,” replied Mr. Wallace, “because trade is good and wages are high, and the great object with us all is to prepare as much metal as machines and men can get ready. But if times should change, I am afraid we should suffer as cotton and silk manufacturers do. We should be told of this process, and that, and another, which might be effected with less machinery and more labour. Rolling and clipping must be done by wood and iron, because no bone and muscle are equal to such work; but there is much labour in preparing limestone, stacking and loading the mine, and other processes in which we shall be assisted by machinery hereafter; and then I expect an outery against such an employment of capital, though it must produce good to all in the end.”

“To be sure,” said Mrs. Sydney. “These works would never have existed in their present flourishing state but for the improvements in the manufacture of iron; and if they are to be yet more flourishing a hundred years hence, it must be by further improvements.”

“Such improvements are much wanted, I assure Edition: current; Page: [63] you; for we have much to learn before the iron manufacture becomes nearly as perfect as many others in the kingdom. The silk and cotton manufactures are less difficult and hazardous, and are more improved than ours. So, Francis, you must have your wits about you, and be always thinking what alterations for the better must be made when the times change: for we cannot expect our present prosperity to last for ever.”

“I see great heaps of cinders that appear to be wasted.” said Francis. “Look at that one which is more like a mountain than a pile of furnace-refuse. Can no use be made of it?”

“That is a question which I have asked myself a hundred times,” replied Mr. Wallace: “and I bear the thing in mind to be considered when the demand for iron slackens, as I suppose it will some time or other. Now our attention is fully occupied in supplying our customers by the usual methods, and there is no leisure for trying experiments, and little need of new methods of economy. They will come with a change of times.”

“What is to be done with these people of yours when those days come? “asked Mrs. Sydney. “When I look at the ranges of cottages and see how many children are playing before the doors, I wonder whether it will always be easy to maintain so increasing a population.”

Mr. Wallace told her that it was his constant endeavour to impress upon his people that it is the duty of well-paid labourers to become capitalists if they can, as a security against a Edition: current; Page: [64] reverse of fortune. The difficulty he always found was to persuade them that the earnings which are only enough to maintain them for a few days, may, by being properly disposed of, be made sufficient for the maintenance of years. He wished his labourers to furnish themselves and their families in the first place with food, clothing, and habitation, and then to put out at interest, or invest in some other profitable way, their surplus wages, that they might have something with which to begin a new employment, in case of their present work being taken from them. Some had attended to his advice and some had not. Some had money in the Monmouth Savings Bank, which was a good way. Some laid out their earnings in stocking a little shop at the iron-work, which was kept by their wives and children. This was also a very good plan. Some laid by their notes and silver in a stocking or glove in their own cupboard, which was a safe method enough, but not so good as one which would have made the money profitable. Others spent the whole as it came in, which was the worst plan of all.

Some who had several children growing up, had them taught different trades, that there might be a resource for the family in case of one trade failing. There could be no better way of employing money than this, for it was sure of a return in the profitable industry of the young people, — a return which would be afforded exactly when it was most needed. It also yielded an immediate return, not the less valuable because Edition: current; Page: [65] it could not be estimated in gold and silver, — the peace of mind which arose from the consideration that all the resources of the family could not be cut off at once, and that if some were thrown out of employment, there would be others in a condition to help them.

All that Mrs. Sydney heard made her wish to begin an acquaintance with the families of the work-people. She proposed that the party should return by way of their dwellings. Mr. Wallace gave his arm to his wife, who had been in conversation with Mr. Bernard, and they all set forward. Mrs. Wallace envied Mrs. Sydney the ease and kindness of manner with which she conversed with people of all classes. The difference between them was, that the one was ignorant of the habits and manners of all ranks except her own, and that the other had mixed with each in turn, and was therefore familiar with whatever concerned them. Both were generous and kind-hearted, though they showed their kindness in different ways. Mrs. Wallace would have given away all she had to a neighbour in want; but when her neighbours, as now, were not in want, she was at a loss to express her good-will, while Mrs. Sydney, by merely conversing with them, made herself liked by them without trying to do so, or ever thinking of anything beyond satisfying her own kind interest.

Mr. Wallace had thought that Paul worked too hard; and as he was anxious to make inquiries of Paul's host about his health, he conducted the party to the cottage of John Jones, with Edition: current; Page: [66] whom Paul lodged. Jones was out, but his wife was within, preparing dinner for herself and two of her younger children who were playing beside her. She thought, like Mr. Wallace that Paul had grown thin lately, and was not so strong as formerly; and she did not wonder, considering how little food and sleep he took. She never saw anybody so sparing of both, or so eager after money. She had no reason to complain, she said; for he paid for his lodging exactly and regularly every Saturday night; but it did make her sorry to see him work so hard and allow himself so few comforts.—He was up at four, summer and winter, doing his tailoring and cobbling work, and would sit from six till eleven in the evening, cutting corks when he had nothing more profitable to do.

Mr. Wallace looked astonished, for he had no notion that Paul had been a Jack-of-all-trades.

Mrs. Jones explained that he seemed able to learn any employment he chose when the inducement of money was set before him. With the first wages he had earned at the works, he purchased a tailor's and cobbler's implements, and patched and cobbled for half the neighbourhood at his leisure hours. He still complained” that be had not enough to do, and went to the next town to look for some employment which he might bring home. He brought a package of cork on his back, and a cork-cutter's knife in his pocket, and for many and many a gross had he received payment from the druggists and others of the next town, and even of Newport. Edition: current; Page: [67] The same bench and the same dirty clothes served him for his cobbling and his cork-cutting; and another advantage of the latter employment was, that a very little light would serve his purpose. He usually burned a farthing candle at hours when he could not have the advantage of the Joneses' lamp.

Mrs. Jones shewed her guests how neatly Paul had partitioned off half his little room to serve as a workshop: the inner half, where he slept and kept his few clothes, was as neat and orderly as possible; for Paul always said that there was good economy in cleanliness and order. The workshop also was kept as tidy as the nature of things allowed.

Mr. Wallace was surprised to see a very pretty picture placed against the wall of the inner room, and covered with a piece of muslin to keep it from the dust. It had no frame, but appeared a good painting. It seemed to be the likeness of a boy, handsome and well-dressed, with a hoop in his hand and a greyhound beside him. The back-ground was a park, with deer grazing, and a mansion seen among the trees.

Mrs. Jones said this picture had a very elegant frame when Paul first put it up in his room, but that he had, after looking at it very often and for a long time together, taken off the frame and carried it with him when he went to the fair to sell his cattle.

His cattle! What cattle?

He seemed to be a very good judge of cattle, and had managed to buy a cow and two or three Edition: current; Page: [68] sheep which he had sold to advantage at the last fair. It had been curious to observe his caution in his calculations. He sat on his bench with a piece of chalk beside him, reckoning and reckoning his sums in the intervals of his work, till it seemed as if all his thoughts were engaged on numbers. The same process had begun again now; so the Joneses concluded he was going to buy and sell more cattle.

Mrs. Sydney inquired whether he was a pleasant inmate and a kind neighbour. So far as he was sober and regular, Mrs. Jones replied, he was a valuable lodger; but be did not often speak or smile at the children; which would, she said, have been the best way of gaining her. He took no notice of the neighbours, whether they laughed at him for a miser, or whether he might have laughed in his turn at their petitions for a loan of money. Altogether, those who cared for Paul had as much sorrow as comfort on his account; for if it was a pleasant thing to see one who was once a beggar acquiring property every day, it was a sad thought that he could not enjoy his earnings reasonably, but pinched himself with want and care as much as if he had still been a beggar.

“However,” added Jones's wife, “I have no right to find fault with his way of disposing of his wages any more than my neighbours have with mine. If I complain of their laughing at me and my husband, Paul may complain of my finding fault with him. Only he does not mind these things as I do.”

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In explanation of this, Mr. Wallace told his companions that the Joneses were ridiculed by some of their neighbours for not getting employment for all their children at the iron-work, which would make the family quite rich at present. Instead of doing this, at the risk of being all out of work at once by and by, the parents had chosen to apprentice one of their boys to a shoemaker at Newport, and another to a smith, while only one was employed on the works. The neighbours boasted that no expenses of apprenticeship were likely to fall on them, while at the same time they were earning more than Jones's filmily would ever be making at one time; and were continually urging that the young shoemaker should be brought home to bo made a catcher, and the little smith to be a straightener.

“Keep to your own plan, I advise you,” said Mr. Bernard. “If you do not repent it now, you never will; for there can scarcely be better days for our works, and there will probably be Worse.”

Mrs. Wallace had all this time been playing with the children, for she was not afraid of them. She had, let the little one hide its face in her muff, and had listened while the older one told her how mammy let her help to make the bed, and how she was learning to hem her own pinafore, and how she could thread a needle for Mr. Paul when he was mending a coat. Mrs. Wallace bad been laughing with the children, but looked so grave the instant their mother turned Edition: current; Page: [70] round, that Jones's wife thought she was offended with the little ones, and chid them for their freedom, so that they went and hid themselves. This was all a mistake; but it was no fault of Mrs. Jones's, for she could not possibly suppose the lady like to be treated with freedom while she looked so grave upon it and said nothing.


When the spring advanced, it was observed by many people that Armstrong had not been at church for several Sundays. He had been seen alive and well, during the week-days, by many people; so there were no apprehensions about him; but Mr. Wallace was so curious to know the reason of his absence, that he inquired very particularly of Mr. Hollins, whom he often met.

“He has become a great theologian,” replied Mr. Hollins. “He tells me that he now studies his Bible and religious books for six hours out of the twenty-four. I cannot think how he manages it, for his garden looks as well as usual, and we play the flute as formerly, only he sends me away somewhat earlier in the evenings. I tell him I shall appear at his window some night Edition: current; Page: [71] when the clock strikes twelve, to see if he is at his books then.”

“Take care how you do that, Mr. Hollins. He will shoot you for a thief. But has his study of the Bible made him leave off going to church? Such a pursuit generally leads the other way.”

“He says he was always fond of worshipping in the open air, as Adam and Eve did; and he finds so much in the Bible about the multitudes being collected in the wilderness to hear the word, that having an opportunity just now of doing the same, he is disposed to try this new, or, as he says, very ancient method. Now, there is a company of Ranters near who preach among the hills about two miles off; and he attends their ministry every Sunday morning.”

“One would think,” replied Mr. Wallace, “that he had read nothing of synagogues in the Bible, or of the Christians assembling under a roof for worship. However, it matters little where a pious heart pays its devotions; and Armstrong's worship, pure and sincere, I doubt not, will be acceptable whether it rises from the hill-side or the house of prayer. Do you know how he likes his new practice? “

“He complains terribly of the psalm-tunes being new-fangled and difficult to sing; but he enjoys having so much space to sing in, and likes all the rest of the service very well, except now and then, when he would fain dispute a knotty point with the preachers.”

“And how do the preachers like him?”

“They are no respectors of persons, you Edition: current; Page: [72] know: but they are naturally pleased at having made such a convert, and never forget the observance due to his age. I perceive he is always seated in a sheltered place on a windy day, and that pains are taken to furnish him with the hymns, and to make the service perfectly audible to him. All this is natural, and right enough, mid he has no objection to it.”

“You speak as if you went sometimes.”

“I do; and it would be worth while your going once or twice to witness the Sunday customs of your people; for a great number attend these Ranters.”

It was curious enough that Mr. Wallace's curricle came in sight of the mountain-path which led off from the road to the Ranters' place of meeting, just when Armstrong and Mr. Hollins were turning into it. They stopped at the sound of the carriage.

“I wish,” said Mr. Hollins,” that you would allow me to drive Mrs. Wallace, while you go with our good friend to the church he likes best.”

“Make haste either way,” said Armstrong, “for we are full late, I am afraid.”

In a moment the gentlemen had changed places, and Mr. Wallace was striding along the rough path, trying to keep up with his vigorous old friend.

They were all full late. The silence, preparatory to opening the service, was so profound, that Mr. Wallace was taken by surprise, when a sudden turn brought them into the presence of a Edition: current; Page: [73] thousand people, seated in ranks upon the grass, in a recess between two hills. A few idle boys were playing hide-and-seek among the furze bushes on the ridge of the hill, and some spectators walked slowly round the outskirts of the congregation; but all besides was as still as in a church at the time of prayer. It seemed as if the service had been delayed for Armstrong; for as soon as he and his companion had taken the seat which had evidently been reserved, a movement took place in the waggon which served for a pulpit, and a man stood up to address the assembled hearers.

This man explained that owing to the illness of the preacher who usually conducted the service that duty devolved upon himself, who had hitherto taken only a very humble part in the offices of the day. He trusted that the word of grace would be acceptable, from whatever lips it came; and had, therefore, taken upon him the preacher's office, rather than dismiss them without their accustomed worship.

“This person,” whispered Armstrong, “is more fit to preach than many a trained clergyman, if I may judge by what I have heard. He generally acts only as clerk; but I once heard an address from him, which makes me very glad of an opportunity of hearing him again.”

Mr. Wallace was in too much astonishment to reply, for this man was Paul.

This remarkable fact being once established, nothing very surprising followed; for Mr. Wallace knew enough of Paul to suppose that his Edition: current; Page: [74] service would be, as it proved, very good. He only could not help gucssing what the subject of his sermon would be, and hoping that his text would be, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” It was, however, one from which Paul could preach with more propriety, “Thou shalt not steal”.

It was now Armstrong's turn to do something which appeared strange. He started when the text was given out, and listened with extraordinary eagerness for some time. At length, when the preacher began to describe the pangs of conscience which disturb the thief, even while no human eye has seen, and no human heart suspected, his guilt, Armstrong rose, mounted the waggon, took his stand beside the preacher, and looked again and again round the assembled hearers, shading his eyes with his hand, and gazing as if he would read every countenance Paul himself paused for an instant, and looked surprised; but probably supposed, like Mr. Wallace, that it was merely a whim of the old man's. It was no whim; and the accidental choice of this text and subject was a fortunate circumstance for Armstrong's peace of mind; for he was now firmly convinced that none of those with whom he was accustomed to worship on the Lord's-day, were those who had invaded his repose and his property by night. “Prejudiced as he was against all that was done, and against everybody concerned in the iron-works, he had always suspected that the thieves came from a different quarter, and that there were persons Edition: current; Page: [75] better informed than any of Mr. Wallace's labourers of the extent of his wealth and the place where it was deposited.

Mr. Wallace watched what Paul would do when the service was over and the people were dispersing. He took not the slightest notice of anybody by word or sign, but stood leaning against a tree with his arms folded, following the groups with his eyes as they parted off among the bills. As the last of them disappeared, Mr. Wallace and his companion approached the preacher and thanked him for his service, and asked if he was about to proceed homewards. He was, and they took the same path in company.

“You speak so seldom,” said Mr. Wallace to Paul, “that I suppose you think a great deal; and the society we live in gives a reflective man much to think about.”

“Indeed it does,” replied Paul. “We speak of society as one thing, and regard men in the mass; but what a variety of interests there is among them! Scarcely any two find their chief satisfaction in the same pursuit; and it is this which makes it so difficult to get at the hearts of men. For instance, there might be two or three who would be interested in the subject of my sermon, but how many more would feel they had no concern in it! What is the use and what the interest of such an address to yourself and Mr. Armstrong, or to any others who are thoroughly honest or placed out of tim reach of temptation to steal?”

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“Its interest seemed to be very great to Armstrong,” observed Mr. Wallace.

“As an observer,” added Paul. “He looked to see how other people were affected by it, which is a very different thing from being himself affected. I was surprised at his eagerness too.”

Armstrong made no other reply than a smile to the inquiring looks of his companions. Paul proceeded:—

“We should each have a sermon to ourselves, and one every day of the week, if preaching is to balance its power against the other powers which act upon us. There is Jones, my host; he is always thinking about establishing his sons well in the world; that is his chief interest. As for his wife, she is taken up with making her husband comfortable and cherishing her babies.”

“What sort of a sermon would you preach to them?”

“I could only tell them what they feel already — that the pure in heart are blessed. If any pursuits are pure, theirs are; and if any people are blessed, they are this day, with their good, promising children about them, and love and comfort within their door. Then there are their neighbours, the Davisons; there pleasures are of a very different kind,—a glass of spirits each at the end of the day, and a debauch at the fair as often as they can get there. I would preach a very short sermon to them. I would send them trooping, bag and baggage, instead of letting them corrupt the morals and laugh at the sobriety Edition: current; Page: [77] of their neighbours, and waste the capital which they ought to employ for the good of society. The money they lay out in gin and gaming would stock a shop.”

“And what sort of a sermon would you preach to me, Paul?” asked Armstrong; “and what is my chief interest?”

“Your chief interest is yourself, and therefore my sermon would be a pretty severe one,” answered Paul. “But it is a harmless, good-natured self, so I would make allowance, gut I can't forgive your Neat sin against society.”

“You mean my living by myself.”

“Live where you please: but how do you justify it to yourself to share the benefits of society when you do nothing in return? You enjoy the fruits of the labour and capital of others,—you drink your tea from the East Indies and your coffee from the West; you read your newspaper, which is the production of a hundred brains and pairs of hands; you—”

“But I pay for all I use.”

“You do, because you could have nothing without; but not a single service do you render to society that you could avoid, while the means are hourly within your reach. Every man in society ought to belong to one class of producers or the other, or to stimulate production by useful though unproductive labour. You are not like the labourer who adds to his employer's capital, nor yet like the capitalist who, assisted by the labourer, increases the resources of society; nor yet like the profession man who, by improving Edition: current; Page: [78] the social state, opens new demands for the comforts and pleasures of life. You would be a better citizen if you were a surgeon in the next town, or a partner in this concern, in the next blest labourer about the works.”

“You would preach to me from the parable of the talents, I suppose?”

“Exactly so. You understand your own case, I see. I should tell you that the unprofitable servant might be a man of very fine tastes. He might be a star-gazer, or a musician, or a politician, or particularly fond of gardening; but he would still be an unprofitable servant while he hid the money committed to him. It matters little whether it was in a napkin under the ground or in a chest under the bed.”

Mr. Wallace seeing that Armstrong looked troubled, asked Paul how he would set about lecturing him.

“I have less fault to find with you than with most people,” replied Paul, who put such perfect good-humour into his manner that it was almost impossible to be offended with his freedom “Your chief earthly interest is,—what it ought to be,—your lady; and next to her, the prosperity of the people about you. This latter you understand well, and manage wisely.”

“And not the former?”

“I think you will wish, some time or other, that rather less of your expenditure had been of the unproductive kind. I know you are too much of a man of principle to spend the whole income of a fluctuating capital in an unproductive Edition: current; Page: [79] manner; but I should like to see fewer ponies and grooms and lady's maids, and furs and cachemires and similar luxuries.”

“Surely,” said Mrs. Wallace, “when my income is the fruit of my own capital, and my own exertions in employing it, I may fairly indulge my wife and myself in a few luxuries which I can well afford.”

“Very fairly. The only question is, to what extent. If you think it probable that you will continue to enrich society by the accumulation of your capital in any proportion whatever, you are justified in laying out the rest of your income as you and your lady please. But if less prosperous days should come, and you must employ more capital for a less return, your lady may find it a harder thing to walk than if she had never had a carriage, and to dress her own hair than if she had kept her hand in all this time.”

Mr. Wallace could not help smiling at Paul's business-like way of speaking of a lady's toilet. Paul saw that he gave no offence and went on.

“Mr. Bernard's family seem to me to have found the right medium. The lads show by the way they set about learning their business that they have been used to put their souls into their pursuits, and the young ladies and Mrs. Sidney were out on foot every day during the winter in their cloth cloaks and stout shoes, and they seldom went back without carrying a blessing with them. Not that they gave alms. Nobody here wants any, thank Heaven! and if any one did, Mrs. Sidney knows there is no real kindness in Edition: current; Page: [80] giving away money as alms. But they attached the people to them, and put them in the way of managing better, and helped to keep up goodwill among neighbours, and incited many a one to industry by proper encouragement. These are the personal services the rich are called upon to render; and to this Mr. Bernard adds an expenditure which can never be repented of. I was in his drawing-room once, and I saw at a glance the nature of his luxuries.”

“What did you see?”

“Every thing that was useful and comfortable in the way of furniture, and all that was handsome and genteel in the dress of the ladies. But I was more struck with the books and the globes and the musical instruments and the pictures.”

“Then you do not object to all luxuries?”

“O dear no. Whatever helps to inform the mind and improve the taste is a proper object of pursuit to those who can afford it. It is a productive expenditure in a very high sense. Mr. Bernard will, I hope, live to see a fine return for the money he spends on his library in the talent and knowledge which his sons will employ in the service of society. And the accomplishments of his daughters will not only increase the domestic pleasures of all connected with them, but stimulate production, if you will have the whole matter before you. Harps and pianos are made up of labour and capital as much as pig-iron.”

“What a romantic lover you would make!” said Mr. Wallace, laughing. “What a strange figure you would cut in high life if you carried Edition: current; Page: [81] your method of reasoning into an exalted station!”

“If more men did so,” said Paul with a deep sigh; “if, while the great are possessed of their grandeur, they thought as much of its sources as when they are stripped of it, there would be a more just gradation of ranks than there is; there would be no starving paupers on the steps of a palace; there would be no excess in the highest or riot in the lowest classes of society. The worst faults of the extremes of society would be done away if those extremes were brought nearer together. If the rich were more thoughtful and the poor more clear-sighted, both might be surrounded with the luxuries most proper for them: the great man might have unreproached his assemblies of the learned and the gay, and the labourer might refresh himself with his newspaper or his flute when the task of the day is over, while the rose and the jessamine bloom beside his cottage door.—And now,” continued Paul, while his companions remained silent, “I have preached five sermons where I promised only one, so you will be glad if I wish you good day.”

“Stay,” said Mr. Wallace, “you must give us our turn. Do you think you need no admonishing?”

“I need it and I have it. My lot is my best admonition.”

“I see no evil in your lot but what you inflict on yourself. Short rest and long toil, scanty Edition: current; Page: [82] food and warmth, solitude and care,—these are severe evils, but they are your own choice.”

“They are, and therefore they are not evils to me. They are means to the attainment of my great end, and that end is—wealth.”

His companions looked astonished at so barefaced a confession. “What can you mean?” “How do you justify it?” “What, then, are the evils of your lot?” they asked impatiently.

“One question at a time,” said Paul quietly. “I mean, that as all the good and all the evil of my life thus far have been connected with wealth, and as I am so made that I must have one great interest, it is natural that I should be passionately devoted to the pursuit of wealth. I mean that I am a miser.”

“And how do you justify yourself for being a miser? for I suppose, as you are not ashamed to own it, you think you can justify it.”

“I do not pretend to justify it, any more than the drunkard pretends to justify the vice he cannot deny. I do not even make the allowance for myself which you would make for me if you knew all that I could tell. My first choice of an object in life was bad. It was snatched from me, and I have chosen another equally bad. Heaven knows whether I shall be baffled here too, and whether I shall have strength enough to make another choice. Meantime, the misery of my lot is warning enough, if all warning were not in vain.—You ask what this misery is. Sleepless nights, when I lie cold and hungry and Edition: current; Page: [83] weary, fancying all the mischances that may happen to my earnings: incessant self-reproach when I think I have lost an opportunity of making profit; teazing thoughts of pounds, shil lings, and pence, when I would now and then think of other things;—all these are evils, are they not? I cannot listen to a running stream, or sit watching the fieldfares in a clear winter day, or follow the sheep-track among the heath on a summer's evening, with the light heart I once had; for I always have the feeling that I am wasting my time, since these things can bring me no gold. If I think of prayer, my lips will say nothing but ‘Thou canst not serve both God and Mammon.’ is not this an evil? Could you preach me a better sermon than God speaks in his word and in the mountain breeze?”

There was a long silence; for Paul looked so deeply moved by his own self-reproaches that neither of his companions ventured to address him. At length, he stopped as if he was about to leave them.

“Beware,” said he to Armstrong, “of despising my hints about your way of life because I have condemned my own. Remember that however much I injure myself, I serve society after a certain manner. Not by example, I own. In this, I can only be of use as a warning,—a humbling thought to a proud man.—But I not only pay my way honestly, like you, but I am providing wealth for others. It benefits them already, for I put it out to use. It will benefit them again when I am dead. May it never Edition: current; Page: [84] more make any one so wretched as it makes me!”

“Are you a man,” said Mr. Wallace solemnly, “and do you yet submit to such bondage? I could not acknowledge such slavery for an hour. Break your habits of care, and enjoy the life a good God has given you. Think of the days when your father's smile was what you loved best, when your mother's voice was your sweetest music, when perhaps there were playmates beside you whom you loved more than you now love gold. Be a child again in heart while you are a man in understanding, and then you will be at ease without and at peace within.”

Paul made no reply, but turned away to hide the workings of his face, and with long strides crossed the ridge of the hill and disappeared.


The change of times of which Mr. Wallace was ever mindful came at last. At the end of three years the price of bar-iron was just half what it had been in the days we have described. There were many perceivable reasons for this change. The political state of various countries was unsettled, and trade in general, therefore, Edition: current; Page: [85] disturbed. The quantity of iron produced by the flow of capital and labour to that department had more than met the immediate demand, and there was a glut in the market, It was hoped that this glut was only temporary; but there was much doubt whether the demand for bar-iron from South Wales would ever again be as extensive as formerly, for the Welsh iron-masters had now rivals abroad. In America and in various parts of Europe, establishments for the preparation of iron were beginning to flourish at the expense of those of longer standing in our own country. Where the iron-stone, coal, and limestone were of good quality, and the works were situated near some navigable river, their produce could be brought into the market at little more than half the price for which the Welsh iron-masters could afford to sell theirs.

This circumstance seemed to destroy the hope that the works in which we are interested could ever more enjoy the prosperity which had been their lot for a few years. Many a sigh escaped from their masters as they were obliged to diminish their profits again and again; and many a curse did the least wise amongst their people vent upon the French or the Americans who took their trade from them; forgetting that as nature had scattered her mineral treasures over various regions of the earth, all their inhabitants have an equal right to use those treasures as the interest of society may prompt. What men have to do is not to refrain, or to expect others to refrain, from using the materials put within the Edition: current; Page: [86] reach of all; but by industry and ingenuity so to improve the resources of art as that the greatest possible number of men may share the benefit; in other words, that the produce may be made as excellent and as cheap as possible. To render any article of production more and more cheap, and more and more excellent, is the only way to create a permanent demand; as the competition among producers which has always subsisted, and always will and ought to subsist, can only be met by bringing the article into more general use. So that Mr. Wallace's labourers, instead of cursing their competitors on the other side of the water, had better have aided their employer in devising means for improving his manufacture, and thus becoming better able to stand a competition which could not be prevented.

The affairs of the concern underwent perpetual and anxious consideration by the partners. They thought apart, they consulted together, they exercised the greatest possible care to promote the interest of all concerned in all their measures. Knowing that it is an unfounded prejudice that the interests of the two parties united in production can be opposed to each other, they wished that their men should understand the reasons of their measures and approve of them, and were therefore ever ready to converse with such as made their complaints or proposed their doubts in a reasonable manner. Some such there were, and some had already informed themselves sufficiently respecting the fluctuations to which trade Edition: current; Page: [86] is liable, to be more sorry than surprised at the present state of things; but there were many more who were ignorant enough to suppose that their earnings were never to be lessened, however the fortunes of their masters might be suffering; and who made as heavy complaints at every mention of a reduction of wages as if they had been treated with injustice. It was hard for the partners, who were as benevolent as they were discreet, to bear these complaints in addition to their own change of fortune; but they would willingly have listened to them, if the grumblers would in turn have heard their reply. This, however, the men were unwilling to do. If they had chosen, they might have known that the affairs of the concern stood thus.

The capital employed in this iron-work was made up, as we have seen, of three parts,—the implements of labour, the material on which labour was to be employed, and the subsistence, or wages, of labourers.—Of these three parts, the first, comprehending the buildings, machinery, and tools, came under the head of fixed capital. The second and third, comprehending the mineral material of the manufacture and the wages of the work-people who carried it on, constituted the reproducible capital of the concern. The fixed capital had not itself brought in any profit; its purpose had been to enable the reproducible capital to bring in a profit: that is, the furnaces and steam-engine had yielded no money themselves, but were necessary to bring the iron-stone into a saleable shape. When the Edition: current; Page: [88] bar-iron sold well, it not only paid the owners the interest of the money they had laid out as fixed capital, and whatever they had spent in iron-stone and in wages, but a great deal over for profit. This profit was called their revenue, and out of it they paid the expenses of living, and then added what remained to their capital, which enabled them to employ more labour, to produce more iron, and therefore to increase again their revenue and their capital. If all had proceeded smoothly, if there had been a continually increasing demand and no foreign competition, it is clear that the wealth of the partners and the prosperity of the concern would have gone on continually increasing; but as it did not, a change in the employment of the capital became necessary.

It is common to speak of two kinds of revenue. That which we have mentioned,—the profits of capital,—is called neat revenue; while the name of gross revenue is given to the whole return made to the capitalist; that is, his reproduced capital and his profits together make his gross revenue, and his profits alone make his neat revenue.

When the price of bar-iron fell, the gross revenue was of course less than it had been; so that when the capital was replaced, a smaller neat revenue than usual remained. The partners immediately did what all wise men do in such a case,—they diminished the expenses of living. Mr. Bernard dismissed two of his household servants, and did not indulge his children with a Edition: current; Page: [89] journey that year, and bought very few books, and left off many luxuries. Mr. Wallace laid down his curricle; and his lady sent away her maid and got her hand in again, as Paul would have said, to dress her hair. These retrenchments did not effect all the partners wished, and, for the first time since they opened their concern, they added nothing to their capital at the end of the year. The next year, though they retrenched still further, their neat revenue was not enough for their family expenses, and they were compelled to consider what retrenchments they could carry into their business as well as their domestic management. They knew that the grand point they must aim at, for the sake of all, was to keep their capital entire; for the less capital they laid out, the less labour they could employ, and the less iron they would send into the market, and their gross and neat revenue would dwindle away year by year.

It was evident that their fixed capital must be left as it was. Whenever any change was made in that department, it must be to add to it; not by building more furnaces, but by substituting machinery,—hoarded labour,—for the labour which demanded wages; but this would not be done till the effect of a reduction of wages had been tried. Whatever change was made, therefore, must be with respect to the reproducible capital. Could any economy be carried into the preparation of the iron-stone? The different parts of the process were pondered frequently with this view; and the result was, that no Edition: current; Page: [90] change could at present be made in the first fusion of the metal, but that the cinder which came from the refinery and the forge might, by being mixed with a particular kind of earth, be made to produce an inferior sort of iron which would sell well for certain purposes. The experiment was tried and succeeded to some extent, though not so triumphantly as was expected by Francis and his brother, who had turned their attention long and industriously to this point. They had hoped that the piles of cinder which formed so ugly an object in their view would disappear by degrees under their new process; but they were obliged to be content with using up that which was daily thrown off in the manufacture of the superior kinds of iron.

What was to be done besides? The outlay of reproducible capital in wages must be lessened. It was so. The first reduction was taken quietly; the second excited murmurs among the ignorant, and fear and sorrow among the clear-sighted of the sufferers; the third occasioned threats of actual rebellion. Some of the men refused to work for such wages. Their masters explained to them the necessity of keeping the works going, and continuing to produce as much iron as possible, at however low a price, in order to retain their stand in the market as long as their capital could be returned entire. The men once more submitted, but were not long quiet.

It became necessary to diminish the cost of production still further, as prices continued to fail. It was found that parts of the work which Edition: current; Page: [91] were now done by hand could be done more cheaply by mechanical contrivances; and some new machinery was therefore introduced, and some men and boys dismissed. This created an outcry; but how could it be helped? There was no other way of preserving the capital of the concern, and on that capital every man belonging to it depended as much as the partners. The work-people to be dismissed were, of course, chosen from among the least industrious and able. It was hoped by their masters and neighbours that they would carry their labour where it was more wanted, and leave the place in peace; but instead of this they remained till their last farthing was spent, trying to persuade others to throw up their work unless higher wages were given, and swearing at the machinery, and abusing the owners, to the great annoyance of all sober people. Some who went away to find work, returned continually to spread discontent wherever they could, and to aggravate the existing distress by adding ill-will to poverty and anxiety. On pay-days especially, they gathered round the doors when the people went to receive their wages, and laughed at them for the smallness of their earnings, and tried to exasperate them by reminding them how much was now done by wood and iron that was till lately wrought by human labour, and how prosperous they had all been once when less machinery was in use. Some were too wise to be taken in by all this, and answered, that the new machinery was the consequence and not the cause of the Edition: current; Page: [92] change of times; and that prosperous as they were three years before, they might have been more so if these mechanical improvements had been then in use. But many more, who were ignorant or so dispirited as to be ready to take up any cause of complaint, allowed themselves to be deceived and persuaded that their employers were conspiring to oppress them.

It soon after happened, most unfortunately, that a boy, who had in charge the management of some part of the new machinery, was careless, and put himself in the way of receiving a blow on the head, which killed him on the spot. There was no more reason to complain of the new machinery than the old on account of this accident. If the filler had allowed himself to fall into the furnace, or the keeper had put himself in the way of being burned when he tapped the hearth, or the catcher had thrust his arm in the way of being crushed by the rollers, no one would have blamed anything but their own carelessness; and so it ought to have been in the present case. But the new invention was now to bear the blame of everything, and people were present when the accident happened, who took advantage of the occasion to work upon the feelings of the discontented. It was a sad scene.

A sudden cry brought the overlooker to the spot. He found four or five people gathered about the boy, who lay quite dead, with his skull fractured and his face distorted, so that he was a terrible object. One man was holding forth in a Edition: current; Page: [93] great passion, demanding whether their lives were to be sported with at the fancy of those who chose to enjoy their luxuries at the cost of the poor; if they must submit, not only to have their work done for them before their faces, but to be liable to be wounded and struck dead by a power which they could not resist? A cool, wary-looking man, who stood by, appeared to check the furious orator, but in reality inflamed his passion.

“You forget, my man,” said he, “that it must be a pleasant thing to our employers to have slaves that want nothing to eat and drink, and ask no wages and make no complaints. They find us very troublesome, because we tell them we and our wives and little ones must live. Wood and iron have no such tales to tell, so no wonder they are preferred to us.”

“They have no such tales to tell; and the saying is, that dead men tell no tales; but this boy,” cried the passionate man, pointing to the body, “shall tell a tale that shall rouse the spirit of all the oppressed within many a mile. I will carry him from one end of the district to the other; and all that want redress shall follow in his funeral train.”

“How will you frame your complaint?” asked the other quietly. “Our masters will laugh and ask if it is their fault that iron breaks bones. They will tell you that if the lad had been out of work, as they want us all to be, this would not have happened. They will tell you Edition: current; Page: [94] that if he had been loitering about the baker's door, longing for the food he could not buy, instead of being quietly at work—”

“O, my boy, my boy!” cried a dreadful voice at this moment. “I will see my boy, I will see who murdered him, I will have revenge on whoever murdered him,! O, you are cruel to keep me away! I will have revenge on ye all!”

It was the unhappy mother, who had heard that her son was killed, but did not know how. She was so possessed by the idea that he had been destroyed by human force, that when she saw him she was not undeceived, and continued to vow revenge.

“Revenge is not so easy to be had,” observed the quiet man. “You may pull the machine to pieces, but it will feel nothing, and so do you no good; and they that put up the machine are too high for the revenge of such as we are.”

“They are not,” cried the passionate man. “If we pull their works to pieces, we only take what is our right as wages; and do you think it will not gall our masters to see us take our own? If it did not, would they not give us our own? As for you, poor creature,” he continued, addressing the mother, who was passionately wailing over the the body, “take your own. Take the cold clay that should have been alive and strong before you this many a year. Close his eyes that always looked bright upon you. Nay, never grasp his hand in that manner. Those hands should have brought you bread when your own Edition: current; Page: [95] are feeble; they should have smoothed your pillow when you could only have raised yours to his head to bless him. Cover up his face, you that stand there! His mother will forget his pretty smile, and this ghastly look of his will haunt her, night and day, till she goes to her grave. It is well he cannot smile again; it would make her forget her revenge.”

“Who dares talk of revenge? Upon whom do you seek revenge? cried a powerful voice from the outskirts of the crowd, which had, by this time, assembled. It was Paul, who had arrived so as to hear the last words, and had more courage than the overlooker to interfere.

“I demand revenge,” shrieked the mother, starting up with clenched hands and glaring eyes, while her hair fell over her shoulders.

“Was it you?” replied Paul in a gentle voice, as he made his way to her. “I thought it had been another voice. Come with me,” he added, drawing her arm within his own; “I will take you home. He will follow,”—seeing that she was going to lay hold of the body. “They will bring him home, and you will be quieter there.”

“Quieter! quiet enough when I shall have no son to speak to me night nor morning,” cried the woman, bursting into another passion of grief.

“She does not want quiet, she wants revenge, and it was my voice you heard say so,” exclaimed the passionate man.

“Then you did not know what you were saying,” replied Paul gravely.

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“You shall say the same, you shall be one of us, or I will knock you down,” cried the man.

“I will not say so, for nobody has been injured that I know of—”

Paul could not proceed for the outcry. “Nobody injured! Was it no injury for a widow woman to have her son killed at his work by an unnatural accident like this? She was as much injured as if his throat had been cut before her eyes by the masters' own hands.” Inflamed more than ever by this outcry, the passionate man rushed upon Paul, and tried to knock him down. But Paul had the advantage of being cool, and was besides a very powerful man. He stood the attack, and then floored his adversary. It was a dreadful sight to see the mother, who should by this time have been hiding her grief at home, helping the fight. The flush and sneer of passion were on her face as she tried to raise and encourage the fallen man. Paul had nearly lost his temper on so unprovoked an attack; but one glance at the woman brought tears into his eyes.

At this moment the clatter of a horse's feet was heard, and Mr. Wallace, who had been absent from the works for some hours, rode up. The overlooker now seemed to recover the use of his limbs and his senses. He made way for his employer, who showed by his countenance more than by words how much he was shocked that such a scene should take place on such an occasion. He rode between the two fighters, and desired them to depart by opposite ways, Edition: current; Page: [97] gave the unhappy woman into the charge of the overlooker, and sent the bystanders about their business.

In half an hour, Mrs. Wallace, who had heard of the accident merely from common report, and knew none of the succeeding circumstances, was sitting beside the poor woman, endeavouring to comfort her and to keep her quiet from the intrusions of her neighbours. This was construed into a new offence by the discontented; and when the sufferer was found to have changed her tone, to speak calmly of her loss, and gratefully of the attentions that were paid to her, she was told that the lady only came to speak her fair and make her give up her revenge. One said they had got something by their discontent already, for it was a fine thing to see an elegant lady come on foot to a labourer's cottage and sit down as if she lived in a cottage herself; and another asked what sort of a story she had wheedled the mourner into believing about the new machinery.

The woman replied that it was not the first time by many that Mrs. Wallace had come down among them, to say nothing of the other ladies, who spoke with one or another every day of their live. Mrs. Wallace was a tender-hearted lady, she would say that for her, though she seemed high when nothing happened to make her take particular notice. She had never so much as mentioned the new machinery, and knew nothing about it, seemed. It was not to be supposed that ladies were told all that was Edition: current; Page: [98] going on at the works; and though the offence was not to be forgiven or forgotten, it was to be brought home to the partners and not to their families, to whom she, for one, should never mention it.

“'Tis all the lady's art,” cried one. “She has gained you over by a few soft words,” said another. “I wonder you let yourself be so taken in,” added a third; so that the poor woman, who was of a changeable temper at all times, and now weakened by what had happened, was persuaded to think as ill of Mrs. Wallace as her neighbours would have her.

When the lady came early after breakfast the next morning, she observed that the children ran out to stare at her, and that their mothers looked scornfully upon her from the windows. This was very painful to her; and she passed on quickly till she reached the house of the woman she came to seek. The door was locked, and when she tapped to ask admittance, a lattice above was flung open, and she was told by a saucy voice that the person she wanted did not wish to be interrupted.

“Will you come down, then, and let me speak a few words to you about the funeral?”

The neighbour above drew back as if to repeat what was said. In a moment the mourner (who could not be interrupted) took her place, and screamed out like a virago, as she looked,—

“Let alone me and mine at your peril. They that killed my boy shall not bury him.” And she continued to pour out such a torrent of abuse' Edition: current; Page: [99] that the lady, who had never before heard such language, was ready to sink to the ground. Her servant-boy, who bad stayed a little behind on an errand, now came up, and looked so fierce on those who dared to insult his lady, that her fear of the consequences recalled her presence of mind. When her spirit was once roused, no one had more courage or good sense. Determining instantly what to do, she held up her finger as a sign to John to be quiet, laid her commands on him to make no reply to anything that was said, and stood at the window-sill to write a few words on a slip of paper which she bade him carry to Mr. Bernard or one of his sons, absolutely forbidding him to let her husband know, even if he should meet him, how she was placed.

“I cannot leave you, ma'am, among these wretches,” cried John, looking round on the mob of women and children who were collecting.

“Do not call them wretches, or look as if there was anything to be afraid of,” said his mistress, “but make haste, and then come to me under that tree.”

What she had written was, “Say nothing to my husband, but come and help me to clear up a mistake of some consequence.” When John disappeared with the note, which everybody had seen her write, the cry of abuse rose louder than ever. It was hard to bear; but the lady felt that if she retreated now, she should lose her own and Edition: current; Page: [100] injure her husband's influence for ever among these people. The thought came across her, too, that she might owe some of this to the reserve of her usual demeanour; and as a punishment also she resolved to stand it well. She therefore only made her way to the tree she had pointed out, and sat down under it; a necessary proceeding, for she could scarcely stand. There she waited for John's return with Mr. Bernard, longing to look every instant whether they were coming, but carefully refraining from turning her head that way, lest the people should see her anxiety.

“What is all this?” cried Mr. Bernard, when at length he arrived breathless, with John at his heels, wiping his brows. “Have these people dared to hurt you?”

“No: they have only railed at me, so that I could not make myself heard; and I want you to help me to find out why. Keep your temper, I implore you. I sent for you instead of my husband, because I was afraid he would not command himself.”

John was eager to explain why he had been so long. Mr. Bernard was not at the office, as John expected. Mr. Wallace was, and John had much ado to avoid telling him; but he held his peace and went on his errand. It seemed as if he had been gone for hours, he said, for he did not know what might have happened in his absence.

Mr. Bernard knew more of the present disposition and complaints of the people than Mrs. Edition: current; Page: [101] Wallace, and—what was on this occasion of as much consequence—he had a stronger voice; so that he soon got to the bottom of the matter.

He showed them the folly of supposing that the lady's object was different now from what it had been in many former cases where she had shown kindness; and began to rate them soundly for their ingratitude and savage behaviour, when the lady interceded for them. When he stopped to listen to her, there was a dead silence. She said that she did not wish them to be reproached more than she was sure they would soon reproach themselves; that she did not come among them for the sake of making them grateful to her, but in order to show her good-will at times when good-will is worth more than anything else that can be given. As long as her neighbours were willing to accept this good-will as freely as it was offered, she should come among them, undeterred by the mistakes about her motives which a few might fall into; but that no person was called upon to encounter a second time such treatment as she had met with that day; and therefore, unless she was sent for, she should not appear among them again. If this should be the last time they should ever speak to one another, she hoped they would remember it was not by her wish, but their own.

The people were now in a condition to hear reason, and they believed the lady's assurance, that when she came down the day before, she knew nothing whatever of the cause of the boy's Edition: current; Page: [102] death, and was silent on the subject of the new machinery only because she had no idea how much the people were thinking and feeling on the subject. She was ready henceforth to talk about it as much as they pleased.

When she stood up and took Mr. Bernard's arm to go homewards, nothing could exceed the attention of the people—so changeable were they in their moods. One brought water, which the lady accepted with a kind smile; and glad she was of it, for she was very thirsty. The mourner's door was now wide open; and, with many curtseys, Mrs. Wallace was invited to enter and rest herself. This, however, she declined for the present day. The mothers called their children off as a huntsman calls off his dogs, and the hunted lady was at last left in peace with her friend and her servant. When Mr. Bernard had left her safe at home, her spirits sank. She did not fall into hysterics, nor alarm her household with an account of what she had gone through; but she sat alone in her dressing-room, dropping many a bitter tear over the blindness and folly of the people whose happiness seemed quite overthrown, and unable to keep down a thousand fears of what was to happen next.

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The delusion that the improvement in machinery was the cause of a change in the times, and not the consequence of the future remedy for such a change, had become too general and too firmly established in this society to be removed by a few explanations or strong impressions here and there. Discontent grew hourly; and the complaints which had before been divided between the American and French iron-works, the rivals in the neighbourhood, the government of the country, and the whole body of customers who would not give so high a price as formerly for their iron, were now turned full upon the new machinery and those who had set it up. Growlings met the ears of the partners wherever they turned; the young men had to keep a constant restraint upon their tempers, and the ladies directed their walks where they might be out of hearing of threats which alarmed or murmurings which grieved them.

Two days after Mrs. Wallace's adventure, her husband, on rising from the breakfast-table, saw Armstrong coming in at the gate.

“It is a sign of the times that you are here,” said he, as he shook hands with the old man. “How are we to read it?”

“As your discretion may direct when you Edition: current; Page: [104] have heard my story.,” replied the old man gravely.

Mr. Wallace looked doubtfully at him, as if to ask whether they had not better save his wife from alarm by being private. Armstrong understood him.

“Sit down, madam, if you please,” said he. “Women are not often so cowardly as they are said to be, if they are but treated fairly, and given to understand what they are to expect. It is too much to look for courage from such as know that the worst they have to dread is often kept from them. So you shall hear, ma'am, and judge for yourself. Only do not turn pale before I begin, or you will make me look ashamed of having so little to tell.”

Comforted by the end of this speech as much as she had been alarmed by the beginning, Mrs. Wallace smiled in answer to her husband's anxious looks, and drew her chair to listen.

Armstrong related that he had observed from his garden, after working hours the evening before, an unusual number of people sauntering about a field at a considerable distance from his dwelling. He had called his housekeeper out to look and guess what it might be. She had once seen Punch in a field with a crowd; and her only idea, therefore, was that it might be Punch; and when her master sent her for his telescope, she fixed it at the window before she brought it, and was almost sure she saw a stand with a red curtain such as she had seen when Punch appeared to her. Her master, however, who was Edition: current; Page: [105] not apt to see visions through his glass, could make out nothing but that all the people in the field seemed to be now collected in one place, and that one man was raised above the rest, and apparently haranguing them. He instantly resolved to go, partly from curiosity, and partly because he expected to hear complaints of the management of the neighbouring concern, complaints which, kind-hearted as he was, he loved to hear, because they confirmed his prejudices, which were dearer to him than even his friend Mr. Wallace or Mr. Wallace's gentle wife. He did not give the account of his motives exactly as we have given it; but he conveyed it clearly enough by what he said to make Mr. and Mrs. Wallace glance at each other with a smile.

He arrived on the spot only in time for the conclusion of the last speech, from which he gathered that the object of the meeting was to consider what measures should be taken with their employers to induce them to alter such of their plans as were displeasing to their men; and that it was determined that a deputation should wait upon the partners to demand that the quantity of labour which was displaced by machinery should be restored to human hands. In order to try the disposition of the masters, it was also to be demanded that every man, woman, and child in the society, except the few necessary to attend to the furnaces, should be allowed to follow the funeral of the deceased boy the next day. If both requests were refused, the people were to take their own way about attending the Edition: current; Page: [106] funeral, and another meeting was to be held round the boy's grave, as soon as the service was over. Armstrong's description of the vehemence with which this last resolution was agreed to, convinced Mr. Wallace that it was time to take more decided measures for keeping the peace than he had yet thought would be necessary. While he was musing, Armstrong continued,—

“I hate your iron-work, and everything (not everybody) belonging to it, as you know; but I had rather see it quietly given up than pulled to pieces. So, if you will let me, I will go and tell the magistrates in the next town the condition you are in, and bid them send a sufficient force for your safety. I am afraid there is no chance of your giving up your new-fangled machinery.”

“No chance whatever,” replied Mr. Wallace decidedly. “If we give up that we give up the bread of the hundreds who depend on us for employment. By means of this machinery, we can just manage to keep our business going, without laying by any profit whatever. If we give up any one of our measures of economy, the concern must be closed and all these people turned adrift. I shall tell them so, if they send a deputation to-day.”

Armstrong contented himself with shaking his head, as he had nothing wherewith he could gainsay Mr. Wallace. At length he asked what Mr. Wallace chose to do.

“To refuse both demands, stating my reasons. I am sure my partner will act with me in this. As to your kind offer of going to the magistrates, Edition: current; Page: [107] I will, if you please, consult him, and let you know in an hour or two. I have little doubt we shall accept your services; hut I can do nothing so important without Mr. Bernard's concurrence. Where will my messenger find you?”

“At home in my garden. But take care how you choose your messenger. Some of the people saw me in the field last night, and if anybody goes straight from you to me to-day, they may suspect something. I took care to come by a round-about way where nobody could see me; and by the same way I shall go back.”

“But why go back? Why not stay where nobody will be looking for you?”

“Because home is one stage of my journey to the town, and I can slip away quietly from my own gate. By the way, your messenger must be one who will not blab his errand to my housekeeper or to any one he may meet. Peg is silent enough when there is no one for her to speak to; but we cannot tell in these strange days who may cross her path.”

Who should the messenger be? Mrs. Wallace offered her services, thinking that a lady would hardly be suspected; but her husband would not hear of her stirring out that day.

“Why not use a signal?” asked Armstrong at length. “A white handkerchief tells no tales, and I can see your windows plainly enough with any glass from my garden hedge. So hang out your flag and I shall know.”

This was at once pronounced the best plan; and it was agreed that at three o'clock precisely Edition: current; Page: [108] (by which time the temper of the deputation would be known) Armstrong should watch for the signal. If he saw a white handkerchief, all would be well, and he might stay at home; if a red, he was to go to the magistrates and state the case, and leave them to judge what force should be provided for the defence of the works. Mr. Wallace furnished the old man with a written certificate that he was authorised by the firm, and then bidding his wife hope for the best, hastened away to business. Armstrong also took his leave; and the three meditated, as they pursued their different occupations, on the ignorance and weakness through which members of the same society, who ought to work together for the good of each and all, are placed in mutual opposition, and waste those resources in contest which ought to be improved by union.

During the whole morning the partners remained on the spot in expectation of the message they were to receive from the great body of their work people; but none came. All went quietly on with their business as if no unusual proceeding was meditated; so that when two o'clock came, Mr. Wallace went home to comfort his wife with the tidings that she might hang out a white flag. There was no use in speculating on what had changed the plan of the discontented; it was certain that no pretence remained for sending for civil or military protection. Relieved, for the present, of a load of anxiety, the lady ran up stairs to prepare her signal with a step as light as any with which she Edition: current; Page: [109] had ever led off a dance; while, on the distant height, Margaret wondered what had possessed John Armstrong that he could not mind his work this day, but must be peering through his glass every minute, till, after a long, low whistle, he laid it aside and looked no more. She was almost moved to ask him what he had seen; but habit was stronger than impulse with her, and she held her peace.

When Mr. Wallace went down to the works again, he observed that Paul, who, as furnace-keeper, was accustomed to keep his eye on his work as steadily as an astronomer on a newly-discovered star, looked up as his employer's step drew near, and met his eye with a glance full of meaning. Mr. Wallace stopped; but as several people were by, explanation was impossible. “Paul, I want to know——but there is no use in asking you a question while you are busy. You will be meddled with by nobody at this time of day.”

“I had rather be questioned in broad day, when I am about my work,” replied Paul with another quick glance, “than at night when I am snug at home and think it is all over till the next day.”

“O ho!” thought Mr. Wallace, “I understand. Well, but,” he continued, “the question I was going to ask is not about your furnace-work, but one of your other trades. If I came to you in the evening, I suppose you would bolt your door and send me away without an answer.”

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“Not so,” said Paul; “for I think every man that asks a fair question should have a plain answer. Such a one I would give with all civility; but when that was done, I should say this was no time for talk, and wish you good evening.”

“And if I would not go till I had got all I wanted, would you call Jones and his lads to turn me out by force?”

“Not the first time; but if you grew angry at being sent away, I should take good care how I let you come near me again in a passion. If you put a finger on my work-bench, I should call the Joneses to rap your knuckles and cry ‘Hands off!’ So you see, sir, what you have to expect.”

“You are a strange fellow,” said Mr. Wallace; “but I thank you for warning me how to behave.”

“It would be well if he behaved himself a little more mannerly,” said one of the workpeople near. “If any of us were to threaten a gentleman in that manner, what an outcry there would be about it!”

“Paul is an oddity, and does not mind being thought so,” observed Mr. Wallace. “But he shows us the respect of doing our work well, and taking as much care of our interests as if they were his own. Blunt speech and fair deeds for me, rather than fair words and rough deeds.”

“What do you think of rough words and deeds together?” said another workman. “They seem likely to be the order of the day.”

“No man is bound to put up with them,” Edition: current; Page: [111] replied his employer. “Here, at least, they shall not be borne.”

The man's companion jogged his elbow, and he said no more.

The partners, in communicating with each other, agreed that it was probable, from what Paul had said, that a tumultuous demand for leave to attend the next day's funeral would be made that night. As it was scarcely likely that the people would proceed to violence before the churchyard meeting they had appointed, it was determined that their absurd demand should be refused.

The gates of both dwellings were early closed that evening, and the doors well fastened. The ladies were not kept in ignorance of what was expected; for their companions had confidence in their courage, and remembered besides that it would add much to whatever confusion might occur to have consternation within the house, at the same time as tumult without.

It must be owned that Mrs. Wallace fell into a reverie more than once while her husband read to her; and that the young ladies at Mr. Bernard's played their duet more by rote than con amore this night. In all the pauses they listened for shouting or the trampling of feet; and when they had done, their father himself opened the shutters, and looked out and commanded silence. The moon had not risen, and there was no light but from the furnace-fires below, which sent up a red cloud into the sky; and there was no sound but the distant roar and rumble of the works. It Edition: current; Page: [112] was a warm evening, and the family stood for some time at the open window, talking little, but some trying to distinguish the stars through the columns of smoke, and others wondering what would have happened by the same hour the next night, while the little ones kept as quiet as possible in the hope that their papa and Mrs. Sydney would forget to send them to bed.

“Father!” cried Frank, “I saw a man leap the hedge,—there,—in that corner.” All had heard the rustling among the shrubs.

” Who is there?” demanded Mr. Bernard.

“Shut your shutters, Sir, I advise you,” said Jones in a low voice. “They are near, and they should not see your lights as they turn the corner. I ran on first, and Paul is gone with the party to Mr. Wallace's. I must make haste and join them again before I am missed. I only came to see that you were fast.”

“Will they proceed to violence to-night?” asked Mr. Bernard before he closed the window.

“No fear if you are decided and civil-spoken; but I won't answer for so much for to-morrow.”

So saying, Jones ran off and climbed the hedge again, that he might drop in at the rear of the party, the glare of whose torches began to appear at the the turn of the road.

“Upstairs, all of you, and let nobody appear at the windows but my lads and myself,” said Mr. Bernard. “And do not be afraid. You heard that there is no fear of violence to-night.”

There was a tremendous knocking and ringing at the door before all the family were up stairs.

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“What do you want with me?” asked Mr. Bernard, throwing up a sash of the second story.

“We want, in the first place, your promise to take to pieces the new machinery, which keeps so many people out of work, and never to use it again without the consent of all parties concerned.”

“A reasonable request, truly! I believe there is more to be said, to bring us into the same mind on that point, than can be got through in a short summer's night.”

“Answer us Yes or No,” cried the speaker.

“Tell him the conditions,” said the man next to him. “Let him know what he has to expect either way.”

“No; tell me of no conditions,” said Mr. Bernard; “I deny your right to impose any, and I will Dot hear them. As long as my partners and I are in business, we will keep the management of our own concerns. So say nothing of conditions.”

“Answer us Yes or No, then,” repeated the first speaker. “Will you pull down the machinery, or will you not?”

“I will not. So you have my answer. My reasons are at your service whenever you choose to ask for them in a proper time and manner.”

The crowd murmured at the mention of reasons; but a man who flitted about among them, urged them to bring forward their second demand. This man was Jones; and his object was to shorten the scene, and get the people to disperse.

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“Your reply is taken down, Sir——”

“Where it will never be forgotten,” growled a deep voice.

“And we proceed to request that all the people in the works may attend the funeral of James Fry to-morrow, and not return to work till the next day, with the exception of the smallest number necessary to keep the furnaces.”

“For what purpose?”

“For the purpose of expressing their abhorrence of the means by which the boy came by his death.”

“What could make you suppose my partner and I should grant your request?”

“Not any idea that you would like it, certainly. But what should hinder our taking leave, if you will not give it?”

“Hear my answer, and then spend to-morrow as you may choose. I refuse permission to any man to quit the work he has agreed to perform, with the exception of the four named by the boy's mother to attend the funeral. All besides who quit their work to-morrow, quit it for ever.”

“Suppose we make you quit your works?” cried an insolent voice.

“You have it in your power to do so by withdrawing your labour; but the day when yonder furnaces are out of blast will be the day of your ruin. If you force us to choose between two evils, we had rather close our concern, and go whence we came, than carry on the most prosperous business under the control of those who depend on our capital for subsistence,”

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Another murmur arose at the last sentence.— “We will soon see what becomes of your capital!” “What is your capital to us, if you are so afraid of having anybody to touch it but yourselves?” “We will carry away our labour, and then much good may your capital do you!”

“Just as much, and no more,” said Mr. Bernard. “than your labour can do without our capital. Remember, it is not our wish that the two powers should be separated to the ruin of us all. If you throw up your work to-morrow, our concern is ruined. If you will have a little patience, and supply your share of our contract, we may all see better days. Judge for yourselves.”

He shut down the window and closed the shutters. The crowd below, after uttering various strange noises, and vehemently cheering sentiments proposed by their leaders, dispersed, and by midnight the shrubbery looked as still in the moonlight as if no intruder's step had been there.

A nearly similar scene, with a corresponding conclusion, had been exhibited at Mr. Wallace's. As soon as the people were gone, that gentleman determined to lose no time in communicating with Armstrong, as it was now evident that protection would be necessary if the people chose to gratify their passions by attending the funeral and subsequent meeting.

Mr. Wallace was little disposed for sleep, and thought a moonlight walk would refresh him, and remembered that he should be his own safest messenger; so when all was silent, he set forth, Edition: current; Page: [116] telling his wife that he should be back within two hours, when he hoped to inform her that Armstrong was gone to bespeak the necessary assistance.

It was just eleven when he reached the steps below Armstrong's gate. As he climbed the gate, the dog barked, growled, and made ready for a spring.

“How now, Keeper!” cried the master from within and his guest without, at the same moment. The dog knew Mr. Wallace's voice, hut was not sure enough of his man, muffled in a cloak as he was, to give over his alarm at once. He leaped and frisked about, still growling while the old man held forth a gleaming pistol in the moonlight from his lattice. “Stand off, or I'll fire,” cried he. But when he heard “Do not be in a hurry to shoot your friend Wallace,” he was in greater alarm than before. He hastened to let in his guest, that he might hear what had happened.

Mr. Wallace observed with some surprise that he had not called the old man from his bed. Armstrong had been sitting, with his labourer's dress on, beside the table, where lay his open Bible, his pistols, his spectacles, and the lamp. Before the visiter had time to ask what kept his friend up so late, the housekeeper put her night-capped head into the room.

“No thieves, Peg,” said her master, and the head withdrew; for Margaret did not see that she had any business with what brought Mr. Wallace there at so strange an hour. Her master was Edition: current; Page: [117] quite of her mind; for, when it was settled what he was to do, he tapped at her door and only said,

“I am going out, and if I should not be back till dinner to-morrow, don't be frightened. Keeper will take good care of you.”

And then he set off to rouse the magistrates, while Mr. Wallace proceeded homewards, pausing now and then to hear whether all was quiet below, and watching how the twinkling lights went out (so much later than usual) one by one in the cottage windows.

Chapter VIII.: UPROAR.

Early the next morning a messenger came to the Joneses' door to let them know that the funeral procession would form at the widow Fry's, at eight o'clock, and that punctuality was particularly requested. Paul asked what this message meant, as nobody in that house was going to attend. The messenger was sorry for it. He had been ordered to give notice from house to house, and he believed almost every body meant to go.

“Then, Jones,” said Paul, “the sooner we are off to our work the better. Example may do something in such a case.”

These two and a few others went to their work earlier than usual, for the sake of example. More kept close at home, and only came .forth when the procession was out of sight, creeping Edition: current; Page: [118] quietly to their business, as if they were ashamed or afraid. But by far the greater number followed the coffin to its burial-place in a churchyard among the hills, near the Ranters' place of meeting. These walked arm in arm, four abreast, keeping a gloomy silence, and looking neither to the right hand nor to the left.

It had occurred to Mr. Bernard that the clergyman who was to perform the service might exert a very useful influence in favour of peace over those who were brought together on such an occasion. He therefore sent a letter to him by a man and horse, communicating the present position of affairs.

The clergyman was young and timid; and being unable to determine what he should do, he did the very worst thing of all: he escaped in an opposite direction, leaving no account of where he might be found. He was waited for till the people, already ill an irritable mood, became very impatient; and when a party, who had gone to his house to hasten him, brought news of his absence, the indignation of the crowd was unbounded. They at once jumped to the conclusion that their employers had chosen to prevent the interment taking place, and to delay them thus for the sake of making fools of them. They forgot, in their rage, that their masters' best policy was to get the coffin of the poor lad underground and out of sight as soon as possible, and to conciliate rather than exasperate their people.

Mrs. Wallace kept as constant a watch from Edition: current; Page: [119] her upper windows this day as sister Ann in Blue-beard. Many a cloud of dust did she fancy she saw on the distant road; many a time did she tremble when any sound came over the brow of the opposite hills. All her hopes were fixed on the highway; all her fears upon the path to the churchyard. The safety of the concern, and perhaps of her husband, seemed to depend on whether the civil or rebellious force should arrive first. It was not long doubtful.

The crowd came pouring over the opposite ridge, not in order of march as they went, but pell-mell, brandishing clubs and shouting as if every man of them was drunk. In front was a horrid figure. It was the mother of the lad who had been placed in his grave without Christian burial. The funeral festival seemed likely to be as little Christian as the manner of interment, to judge from the frantic screams of his mother, and the gestures with which she pointed to the works as the scene where the people must gratify their revenge.

They made a sudden halt at the bottom of the hill, as if at the voice of a leader; and then, forming themselves rapidly into a compact body, they marched almost in silence, but with extreme rapidity, till they had surrounded the building they meant first to attack. The labourers in it had but just time to escape by a back way before the doors were down and a hundred hands busy within knocking the machinery to pieces, and gutting the place. This done, they went to a second and a third building, when there arose Edition: current; Page: [120] a sudden cry of “fire!” The leaders rushed out and saw indeed a volume of smoke making its way out of the doors and windows of one of the offices where the books were kept and the wages paid. The least ignorant among the rioters saw at a glance that this kind of destruction would ensure the total ruin of the iron-work and of all belonging to it. With vehement indignation they raised three groans for the incendiary, and hastened to put out the fire and save the books and papers. At the door they met the furious woman they had made one of their leaders, brandishing a torch and glorying in the act she had done. Her former companions looked full of rage, and shook their fists at her as they passed.

“Stop her! Lay her fast, or she will be the ruin of us all,” cried several voices. With some difficulty this was done, and the poor wretch conveyed to her own house and locked in.

It was a singular sight to see the gentlemen and Paul, and a portion of the mob labouring together at the fire, while the rest of the rioters were pushing their work of destruction, unresisted but by the small force of orderly workpeople, which they soon put to flight. It was the aim of the leaders to show that they confined their vengeance to the machinery; but when vengeance once begins, there is no telling where it will stop. The very sight of the fire was an encouragement to the evil-disposed, and many thefts were committed and much violence done which had no connection with machinery.

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Paul was among the most active of the defenders. Seeing that as many hands as could assist were engaged at the fire, he bethought himself of a building where there was a great deal of valuable machinery which was likely to fall a sacrifice if undefended. He ran thither and found all quiet. He locked himself in and began to barricade the windows. He had not half done when the rioters arrived, and, finding the door fastened, applied to the window. This was soon forced; but then Paul appeared with a huge iron bar, with which he threatened to break the sculls of all who came within reach. He stood at some height above them, so as to have greatly the advantage over them, and there was a moment's pause. Some were for forcing the door, but they did not know how many iron bars might be ready there to fall on the heads of those who first entered. “Smoke them out!” was the cry at length, and half a dozen lighted torches were presently thrown in. Paul stamped out as many as he could reach with either foot; but while he was trying to do this with one which had already caught some light wood beside it, three men took advantage of his attention being divided to leap up to the window, wrench his bar from him, and fling it down below. Paul lost not his presence of mind for a moment. He snatched up a blazing torch in each hand, and thrust them in the faces of his enemies, who, not much relishing this kind of salute, jumped down again whence they came. “It is my turn to smoke out,” cried he; but this was his last act Edition: current; Page: [122] of defence. The three men had been long enough on the window to perceive that Paul was the entire garrison of the place; and while they kept up a show of attack at the window, the door was forced, and the building filled without resistance. When it was about half gutted, Paul thought he heard a welcome sound without above the crashing and cries within. It was the galloping of horse; and the sabres of soldiers were soon seen glittering in the red light from the fire. They rode up and surrounded the building, making Paul, who was still astride on the window, their first prisoner. He smiled at this, knowing he should soon be set free; but he was presently touched by the earnestness with which some of the guilty protested his innocence and begged his discharge. When one of the masters came up and had him released, he had a painful duty to perform in pointing out which of the people who remained cooped up in the place had been the most guilty. He was, however, sufficiently aware of its being a duty to do it without flinching; and he marked the men who had first broken the window, thrown the first torches, and burst in the door.

The work of destruction was now stopped; but the state of things was little less wretched than if it had continued. The partners were seen in gloomy conference with the commanding officer. The steady workmen, whose means of subsistence had been destroyed before their faces, stood with folded arms gazing on the smoke which slowly rose from the ruins. There was a Edition: current; Page: [123] dull silence in the empty building where the prisoners were guarded by a ring of soldiers, who sat like so many statues on their horses. At the houses of the partners there were sentinels at the gates and before the parlour windows, and the ladies within started every time a horse pawed the gravel walk. The anxious house-keeper, meantime, was trying to keep the frightened servants in order; for they had much to do in preparing refreshments for the soldiers. But, perhaps, the most wretched of all were those who hid their grief within their humble homes. The little children, who were forbidden by their mothers to stray beyond the rows of labourers' cottages, came running in with tidings from time to time, and many times did the anxious wife, or sister, or mother, lift her head in the hope of hearing “Father is coming over the green,” or “John is safe, for here he is,” or “Now we shall hear all about it, for Will is telling neighbour so and so;” and as often was the raised head drooped again when the news was “Neighbour such-a-one is a prisoner,” or “Neighbour Brown is crying because her son is going to jail,” or “Mary Dale is gone down to try and get sight of her husband, if the soldiers will let her; for she won't believe he set fire to any place.”

Again and again the children resolved, “I won't go in to mother any more till she has done crying,” and again some fresh piece of bad news sent them in to make the tears flow afresh.

It was found that the prisoners could not be removed till the next day; and when food, and Edition: current; Page: [124] drink, and straw to sleep on was being supplied to them, it was melancholy to see how the relations of the men wandered about hoping to find means to speak to one or another. Many an entreaty was addressed to the soldiers just to be permitted to step up to the window between the horses, and see whether John, or Will, or George wanted anything or had anything to say. This could not of course be allowed; but it was long after dark before the last lingerer had shut herself into her cheerless home to watch for the morning.

That morning rose fair and bright as a June morning can be. Mr. Wallace opened the shutters of his drawing-room, where, with Mr. Bernard, he had passed the night, arranging plans for their next proceedings, and writing letters to their partners in London respecting the readiest mode of closing their concern; and to their law officers, respecting the redress which they should obtain for the injury done to their property. The crimson light of the dawn, the glittering of the dew on the shrubs, and the cheruping of the waking birds, were so beautiful a contrast to the lamp-light and silence within, that Mr. Wallace felt his spirits rise at once. They were at once depressed, however, when he saw the glancing of weapons in the first rays of the sun, and observed that the furnaces were out, and that all the scene, usually so busy, was as still as if it had been wasted by the plague. Manly as he was, and well as he had sustained himself and everybody about him till now, he could not bear these Edition: current; Page: [125] changes of feeling; and tears, of which he had no reason to be ashamed, rolled down his cheeks.

“You dread the sending off the prisoners,” said his partner. “So do I; and the sooner we can get it done the better.”

They therefore went out and saw that their sentinels were properly refreshed, and that every tiling was prepared for their departure as speedily as might be. No one who walked about the place that morning could think for a moment that any further violence was to be apprehended. The most restless spirits were well guarded; and of those who were at large, all, the injurers and the injured, seemed equally subdued by sorrow and fear.

Just as the great clock of the works struck eight, a waggon drew up to the door of the building where the prisoners were confined. In a few minutes the whole population was on the spot. The soldiers kept a space clear, and obliged the people to form a half-circle, within which stood the partners and the commanding officer; and here the relations of each prisoner were allowed to come as he was brought out. The parting was so heart-breaking a scene that it was found necessary to shorten it; and for the sake of the prisoners themselves, it was ordered that they should only take one farewell embrace. Some took a shorter leave still; for there were wives and sister—though not one mother—who would not own a relation in disgrace, and hid themselves when entreated by the prisoner to come and say “Farewell.” The entreaty was not Edition: current; Page: [126] in one instance repeated. A took of gloomy displeasure was all the further notice taken by the culprit as he mounted to his seat in the waggon.

At length, the last prisoner was brought out; the soldiers formed themselves round the waggon, and it drove off, amidst a chorus of lamentation from the crowd. Almost every face was turned to watch it till it was out of sight; but some few stole into the place which had lately been a prison, and sank down in the straw to hide their shame and their tears.

The partners thought that no time could be fitter than this for explaining to the assembled people the present state of affairs as it regarded them, and the prospect which lay before them. Mr. Wallace, who, as longest known to the people, had agreed to make this explanation, mounted to the window of a neighbouring building, and, while Mr. Bernard and his sons stood beside him, thus addressed the crowd below:—

“It is partly for our own sakes, though chiefly for yours, that we now offer to explain to you the condition and prospects of this concern. We still say, what we have often said, that we are accountable to no man for our manner of conducting our own affairs; but we wish you clearly to understand why we close our iron work, in order that you may see that we cannot help doing so, and that it is through no act of ours that so many industrious and sober labourers are turned out of work in one day. We make this explanation for your sakes; because we hope that those among you who have been guilty Edition: current; Page: [127] of the intention, if not the deed of riot, will learn the folly as well as the sin of such proceedings, and that those who are innocent will train up their children in such a knowledge of facts as will prevent their ever bringing destruction on themselves and others by such errors as have ruined our concern.

“When we came here to settle, an agreement was made, in act if not in words, between the two classes who hoped to make profit out of these works. You offered your labour in return for a subsistence paid out of our capital. We spent the money we and our fathers had earned in buying the estate, building the furnaces, making or improving roads, and paying the wages which were your due. Both parties were satisfied with an agreement by which both were gainers, and hoped that it would long be maintained without difficulty or misunderstanding. No promise was or could reasonably be made as to how long the labour should be furnished on the one side and the capital on the other, in the same proportions; for it was impossible for either party to tell what might happen to the other. It was possible that so great a demand for labour might take place in some other manufacture as to justify your asking us for higher wages, or leaving us if we did not think proper to give them. It was equally possible that the prices of our manufacture might fall so as to justify us in lowering your wages, or in getting a part of our work done without your assistance.

“Nothing was said, therefore, about the length Edition: current; Page: [128] of time that your labour and our capital were to work together: and it was well that there was not; for in time both the changes happened that I have described. First, the demand for labour increased so much that you asked higher wages, which we cheerfully gave, because the prosperous state of trade pointed them out as your due. Alter a while the opposite change took place. Demand declined, prices fell, and we could not afford to give you such high wages, and you agreed to take less, and again less, as trade grew worse. So far both parties were of one mind. Both felt the change of times, and were sorry on account of all; but neither supposed that the other could have helped the misfortune. The point on which they split—unhappily for both— was the introduction of new machinery.”

Here there was a murmur and bustle among the people below, which seemed to betoken that they were unwilling to hear. Some, however, were curious to know what Mr. Wallace would say, and cried “Silence!” “Hush!” with so much effect that the speaker was soon able to proceed.

“As no profit can be made, no production raised from the ground, or manufactured in the furnace or the loom, or conveyed over land and sea, without the union of capital and labour, it is clear that all attempts to divide the two are foolish and useless. As all profit is in proportion to the increase of labour and capital, as all the comforts every man enjoys become more common and cheap in proportion as these two grow in amount, it is clear that it must be for Edition: current; Page: [129] the advantage of everybody that labour and capital should be saved to the utmost, that they may grow as fast as possible. The more capital and labour, for instance, there is spent upon procuring and preparing mahogany, the more cheap will be mahogany tables and chairs, and the more common in the cottages of the working classes. In the same way, broad-cloth was once a very expensive article, because very few attempted to manufacture it; but now, when many more capitalists have set up their manufactories of broad-cloth, and much more labour is spent upon it, every decent man has his cloth coat for Sundays. In like manner the more capital and labour can be saved to be employed in the iron-trade, the cheaper and more common will iron be: and if it can be an evil to us that it is already cheaper,” we must find a remedy in making it more common, more extensively used, so that the quantity we sell may make up for the lowering of the price. It is plain, then, that all economy of capital and labour is a good thing for everybody in the long run. How is this saving to be effected?

“Capital is made to grow by adding to it as much as can be spared of the profit it brings. We all know that if a hundred pounds bring in five pounds' interest at the year's end, and if two of the five pounds only are spent, the capital of the next year will be a hundred and three pounds, and the interest five pounds, three shillings; and so on, increasing every year. This is the way capital grows by saving. Labour Edition: current; Page: [130] does not grow by saving in like manner; but methods of improving and economizing it have been found, and more are invented every year. Labour is saved by machinery, when a machine either does what man cannot do so well, or when it does in a shorter time, or at a less expense, the work which man can do equally well in other respects. This last was the case with our new machinery. It did not, like the furnaces and rollers, do what man could not do; but it did in a quicker and cheaper manner what man had hitherto done. It was a saving of labour; and as all saving of labour is a good thing, our machinery was a good thing.

“You wish to interrupt me, I see. You wish to say that though it is a good thing for us capitalists, it is not for you labourers. Hear me while I show you the truth. If we could have brought back the state of the world to what it was four years ago; if we could have made the foreign iron-works melt into air, and some nearer home sink into the ground; if we could have made the demand what it once was, and have raised the prices to the highest ever known, you would not have cared whether we put up machinery or not, because there would have been employment enough for everybody notwithstanding. You care for it now because it throws some people out of work; but you should remember, that it has also kept many busy who must be idle, now that it is destroyed. We should be as glad as you if there was work enough for all the men and all the machinery Edition: current; Page: [131] together that our concern could contain; but when changes which we could not prevent or repair brought before us the question whether we should employ two-thirds of our people with machinery, or none without, we saw it to be for the interest of all to set up our new labourers in the midst of the grumblings of the old. We tell you plainly that we could not have employed any of you for the last six months, but for the saving caused by the new machinery; and that, now it is gone, we can employ none of you any longer.

“You may say that the county will repair our losses, and that we may soon build up what is destroyed, and go on as before. It is true that the damages must be paid out of the public fund; but it is not so true that a remedy will thus be found for the distress which violence has brought upon you. The state of trade being what it is, and confidence being so completely destroyed between the two parties to the original contract, there is little encouragement to enter on a new one. My partner and his family will depart immediately. I shall remain with a very few men under me to assist in disposing of our stock, and to wind up the concern; and then this place, lately so busy, and so fruitful of the necessaries and comforts of life to so many hundred persons, will present a melancholy picture of desertion and ruin. If, in after years, any of your descendants, enriched by the labours of generations, should come hither and provide the means of enriching others, may they meet with Edition: current; Page: [132] more success than we have done! May they have to do with men informed respecting the rights and interests of society, as happy in their prosperity as you once were, and more patient and reasonable in adversity!

“If these should ever inquire respecting the transactions of this day, it will strike them that the revenge which you have snatched—for I am told you call it revenge—is as foolish as it is wicked. Of all the parties concerned in this outrage, your masters suffer the least—though their sufferings are not small—and yourselves the most. Your occupation is gone; the public resources, to which many here have contributed, must be wasted in repairing the damage intended for us; and worst of all, disgrace and the penalties of the law await many with whom you are closely connected. Having enjoyed from their birth the security and various benefits of the social state, they have thought fit to forfeit their privileges by a breach of the laws; and they must take the consequences. How many of the guilty are now mourning that those consequences cannot be confined to themselves! How many—but I will not pursue this subject further, for I see you cannot bear it. I only entreat those of you who hold your children by the hand, and see them wondering at the mournful solemnities of this day, to impress upon them that the laws must be obeyed, and to assure them from your own experience that, however sad undeserved poverty may be, it is easily endurable in comparison with the thought which Edition: current; Page: [133] will haunt some of you to your dying day— ‘my own hands have brought this misery upon myself, and upon those who look up to me for bread.’

“I have only to add that which it may be a satisfaction to some of you to know, that we freely forgive to such the injury they have meditated against us. We are indeed too deeply concerned for your misfortunes to have much thought to bestrew upon our own. Farewell.”

The people slowly and silently dispersed, and few showed their faces abroad again that day.


Paul was one of the very few whom his employer selected to remain with him till the stock should be sold off and the concern closed. The Jones family had been one of the first to depart of the many who were gone to seek employment and a home. They settled in the place where their sons were apprenticed to different trades, and where they had a good name for honesty, industry, and prudence. the fund which they had saved in better days was sufficient to maintain them for some time, if, as was not likely, people so respectable should find it difficult to obtain employment. They left Paul in possession of their cottage, as he was unwilling to shift his work-bench, or leave off cutting corks till the last moment.

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As he was thus employed late one evening, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace came to him. Sir. Wallace had heard from a friend of his engaged in a neighbouring iron-work, who wished to know whether an able over-looker could be recommended to him from among those who would be thrown out by the closing concern. Mr. Wallace was glad of this opportunity of securing a good situation for Paul, to whom he felt himself greatly indebted for his conduct during the riots, and whom he knew to be competent to the duties of such an office. Paul was duly obliged by this offer, but requested time to consider of it, as he had already the choice of two modes of investing his little capital,—one in a shop in London, and another in a Birmingham concern.

Mr. Wallace was surprised at the good fortune which placed before one man, in days like these, three employments to choose out of. Paul answered with a stern smile, that he owed it to his reputation of being a miser; misers having two good qualifications for partnership,—the possession of money, and a close attachment to the main chance.

“I wish I could see any aim in this desperate pursuit of money,” said Mr. Wallace, gravely.

Paul answered by going into the inner room and bringing out the picture which hung there.

“Can you guess who that is?” said he.

“It has occurred to me that it might be yourself; but I can trace little or no likeness now.”

“No wonder,” said Paul, looking at his blackened hands and sordid dress. “It is not Edition: current; Page: [135] myself, however, but a brother,—an only, elder brother, who died when I was twenty, and he twenty-one, just entering on the enjoyment of his property.”

“And did that property come to you?” asked Mrs. Wallace, in surprise.

“Every acre of it, with the mansion you see there. I lost it all by gaming and other pleasures-—pleasures indeed!—and in ten years was sitting in rags, without a crust in my wallet, as beggars usually have, on yonder hill where I traced the map of my future fortunes. I have an aim, sir. It is to get back that estate; to plant an oak for every one that has been felled; and to breed a buck for every one that has been slain since the gates were shut upon me for a graceless profligate.”

“Do you think you should be able to enjoy your property if you got it back again?” asked Mr. Wallace. “Or, perhaps, there is some family connexion to whom you wish to restore it by will?”

“Neither the one nor the other,” replied Paul. “I have not a relation in the world; and I see as clearly as you can do, that I shall be by that time too confirmed in my love of money to enjoy the pleasures of a fine estate. I shall screw my tenants, and grudge my venison, and sell all the furniture of the house but that of two rooms.”

“Then do propose to yourself some more rational object?” said Mrs. Wallace, kindly. “Let those have your estate who can enjoy it, and leave off accumulating money before it is too Edition: current; Page: [136] late, As soon as you have enough to buy and furnish a cottage, and afford a small income, give up business, and occupy yourself with books, and politics, and works of benevolence, and country sports and employments; with anything that may take off your attention from the bad pursuit which is ruining your health, and your mind, and your reputation.”

“If you do not,” said Mr. Wallace, “I shall wish, as the best thing that could happen to you, that you may lose all your gains.”

Paul raised his clenched fist, and ground his teeth at the mention of such a possibility. Mrs. Wallace turned pale at such a symptom of passion; but she thought it right to add,—

“You have twice had warning of the fleeting nature of riches. You have lost your own fortune, and seen the prosperity of this place overthrown. If you still make wealth your god, I hope you prepare yourself to find it vanish when you need it most. I hope you picture to yourself what it will be to die destitute of that for which alone you have lived.”

“Yet this,” added her husband, “is a better lot than to live and die miserable in the possession of that for which alone he has lived. Take your choice, Paul; for the one lot or the other will be yours unless you make a grand effort now.”

Paul was not inclined to dispute this; but he was not, therefore, the more disposed to make the effort. He was pronounced by everybody a man of strong character. Whatever pride he had in himself was in his strength of character. Edition: current; Page: [137] Yet he was weak,—weak as an idiot,—in the most important point of all.

He was once seen to smile compassionately on the perseverance of a little child who laboured through a whole sultry day in digging a little pond in his garden. By the time it was finished, and before it could be filled, it was bed-time, and a rainy night rendered it useless.

When Paul despised the labour of this child, he little thought how his own life would resemble that sultry day. He, too, spent his sunshiny hours in laborious preparation; and fell into his long sleep to find on waking that his toil had been in vain.

When the Wallaces at length took their final leave of the place, they alighted at Armstrong's, on their way, to say farewell. The old man was, as usual, in his garden.

“Are you the last, the very last?” said he.

“Except two or three workmen and servants who stay to pack a few things and lock up our house.”

“I hope then they will take down yonder clock which sounds to me like a funeral bell.”

“Can you hear it so far as this?”

“O yes. Hark! It is beginning to strike noon. I used to like its stroke when it brought the work-people flocking from their cottages in the morning, or when they came pouring out as it told their dinner hour. But now it only puts one in mind of days that are gone, and I shall be glad when it is down.”

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“You do then see something to regret in the days you speak of?” said Mr. Wallace. “This is more than I expected from you.”

“I might not say so, perhaps,” returned the old man, “if yonder valley could be made what it once was. But that can never be; and there is no comparison between a settlement where art and industry thrive, and a greater number of human beings share its prosperity every year, and a scene like that, where there is everything to put one in mind of man but man himself.”

“And where,” said Mr. Wallace, “we are chiefly reminded of the ignorance and folly to which the change is owing. I should wish for your sake that we could raze all those buildings, and make the ground a smooth turf as it was before, if I did not hope that the works might be reopened,—though not by us,—in happier days.”

“I should be more glad to see such a day than I was to witness that which brought you here,” said the old man. “But my sands are nearly run; and, even if nobody shakes the glass, I can scarcely hope that anything will bring you back within my hour. But come,” he added, swallowing his emotion, “where's your lady?”

“Gone to speak to Mrs. Margaret. Will you gather her a bunch of your flowers before we go?”

“Aye, and a choice one; for she is a choice flower herself,” said the old man. “From the hour that I saw her walking over the heath in the wintry wind in her cloak and thick shoes to show a poor neighbour how to manage a new Edition: current; Page: [139] dropt calf, I pronounced you, sir, a happy man. Whatever fortune betides you, you will find a companion and helper in her.”

Mrs. Wallace appeared in time to put a stop to further praise of herself. She had left Mrs. Margaret engaged in admiration of a painting by the lady's own hands, which she wished to leave as a remembrance, and which henceforth ornamented the chimney-piece of the cottage, and occasioned more discourse than any other possession they had ever had.

Armstrong handed the lady gently down to the chaise. When it was out of sight, he was a long time tethering the gate; and the housekeeper observed that he drew his band across his eyes as he turned into his orchard plot.

Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.

Capital is something produced with a view to employment in further production.

Labour is the origin, and

Saving is the support, of Capital.

Capital consists of

  • 1. Implements of labour.
  • 2. Material, simple or compound, on which labour is employed.
  • 3. Subsistence of labourers.

Of these three parts, the first constitutes Fixed Capital: the second and third, Reproducible Capital.

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Since Capital is derived from Labour, whatever economizes Labour assists the growth of Capital.

Machinery economizes Labour, and therefore assists the growth of Capital.

The growth of Capital increases the demand for Labour.

Machinery, by assisting the growth of Capital, therefore increases the demand for Labour.

In other words, Productive Industry is proportioned to Capital, whether that Capital be fixed or reproducible.

The interests of the two classes of producers, Labourers and Capitalists, are therefore the same; the prosperity of both depending on the accumulation of Capital.

London: Printed by W. Clowes, Stamford-street.

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No. III.
A Tale
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printed by william clowes
Stanford Street

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A Tale
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  • 1. Brooke and its Politicians . . . . 1
  • 2. George Gray's Way of Living . . . . 16
  • 3. George Gray in the Way to Prosper . . 28
  • 4. A Conversation under the Limes . . . 40
  • 5. Past; Present, and to Come . . . . 56
  • 6. Sergeant Rayne's Story . . . . . . 72
  • 7. Great Changes at Brooke . . . . . 83
  • 8. Small Farming . . . . . . . . 92
  • 9. Great Joy at Brooke . . . . . . 106
  • 10. What Joe Harper saw Abroad . . . . 114
  • 11. What must come at last . . . . . 127
  • 12. Prosperity to Brooke! . . . . . . . 132
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There is not a village in England that I love so well as Brooke: but I was born and have always lived there, and this is probably the reason why I see beauty in it; for strangers do not appear struck with it.

There is one long, straggling street where the blacksmith, the publican, the grocer, and the haberdasher live; their houses being separated, some by gardens, others by cowsheds or pigsties. My father's house stands a little way out of the village, just a quarter of a mile from the “Withers' Arms,” the only public-house in the place. Our dwelling stands so far back from the road, and is just so much planted with trees and shrubs, as to be free from noise and dust; while it is not so retired as to appear ashamed of keeping company with the houses in the neighbourhood. The children playing in the road may see the ladies at work in the bow-window Edition: current; Page: [2] by peeping through the bars of the white gate; and if any little boy should venture in to pick up his ball or recover his kite, he may chance to meet the master looking after his fruit-trees, or to catch a glimpse of the mistress cutting her roses.

Our house is, however, only the second-best in the place, without reckoning Sir Henry Withers's fine old castle, which, besides being five miles off, is too grand to be brought into comparison with any neighbouring estate. Brooke Farm is a far larger and handsomer place than ours. The house, a solid old English mansion with many modern additions, which have been made as its owner, Mr. Malton, grew rich, is approached from the village by an avenue of fine chestnuts; but there are sundry other approaches which are much preferred by those who, like myself, frequent the fields and lanes of Brooke Farm. There is a green lane where wild anemones grow in profusion, and at the end of which, close by the back of the mansion, stand some tall elms, the habitation of a society of rooks. When I go to visit Mrs. Malton, I generally choose this road, and pay my respects to the rookery before doing the same to the lady.— Mr. Malton is by far the largest land-owner within a circuit of many miles, and has added to his property, year by year, till it has become as extensive as he can manage himself. Up to this point he believed himself justified in enlarging his farm, but not beyond; for he knows well that the personal superintendence of the proprietor is Edition: current; Page: [3] necessary to the due improvement of an estate of any kind, and especially of a farm.

At the west end of the village street stands the church, upon a rising ground planted with evergreens, while the modest parsonage retires behind it, with its little court in front, and its blooming pear-tree trained against the walls. Beyond, are a fine range of fields and some flourishing young plantations; but in my early days they were not to be seen. There was, instead, a wide common, skirted in some parts with very poor cottages. No trees, no gardens were seen around them. I remember how bleak and bare the situation of those dwellings used to appear. A pool of muddy water was before the doors of some, and a dunghill was heaped up against the wall of others. Each had a cowshed, such as it was, with its ragged thatch and its sides full of holes, through which the wind whistled. Each cottager possessed a cow which grazed on the common, and which, though lean from being only half-fed, was the best wealth of its master. As each villager had a right of common, every housekeeper possessed a cow; and often in my evening walk I met eight or nine of these miserable cattle coming home to be milked. Little John Todd, the blacksmith's son, used to drive in several in company with his father's. He took charge of Miss Black's the milliner, of Wickstead's the publican, and of Harper's the grocer. With all these cows, there was no great abundance of milk, butter, and cheese, in the place; for no more milk was yielded than was Edition: current; Page: [4] wanted for each family. There were tribes of children in most of the cottages; and the grocer had his shop-boy, the publican his stable-boy, and the milliner her apprentice, to feed; so that there was a demand for as much milk as the poor animals could supply. A donkey or two, and a few pigs and geese, were also to be seen on the common, grazing or drinking from the pools, or dabbling in them. There was a pretty pond of clear water near the pathway which led across the common; and it was overhung on one side by a clump of beeches which formed a pleasant shade in summer, and were a relief to the eye in winter when the ground was covered with snow. Behind this clump the common was no longer level, but swelled into heathy hillocks, bright with gorse and broom, and the variety of plants which usually flourish in company with them. The view of the church and parsonage from the highest of these hills was particularly pretty when the setting sun shone full on their windows and on the bench in the churchyard, where the old men used to go to enjoy its last beams. I have sat on that hill for many an hour, watching the children at their sports about the pond, or tending the cows; and have remained there with my father till no sound was heard but the dying hum from a distance, and nothing was to be seen of the village but the sparks from the blacksmith's forge.—My father agrees with me that Brooke is one of the prettiest villages in England.

The character of the place and of the people is, however, very much changed within my remembrance; Edition: current; Page: [5] —whether for the better or the worse, the reader will judge for himself when I have described the changes to which I refer. A few years ago, as I have said, the cottages on the common wore a comfortless appearance. The families they contained, some large, some small, were, however, supported in independence, and few complaints were heard, though the children went barefoot and half-naked, and had never thought of such a thing as learning to read. Blacksmiths are always sure of a living; and Mr. Todd was then neither better nor worse off than at present. the same may be said of Wickstead the publican. The grocer has got on in the world considerably; and Miss Black's window displays a much grander assortment of caps and ribbons than in former days. But as she has grown rich, some of her neighbours have grown poor; and parish relief is sought by several families who would have little thought of such a mode of subsistence ten years ago.

I well remember the day when my father announced to us a piece of news which nearly concerned the interests of our village. As we were sitting round the table after dinner, my mother remarked that she had seen Sir Henry Withers ride down the street in the morning, and thought he was going to call; but that just as he had reached the gate, he turned his horse's head another way.

“He came to speak to me on business,” said my father, “and seeing me a little way farther on the road, he chose to overtake me instead of Edition: current; Page: [6] turning in here. He left his respects for you, and was sorry he had no time afterwards to call.”

My mother was sorry too, for she wanted to give him some instructions about rearing a foreign plant which he thought was drooping.

“He will be here again in a day or two,” said my father. “If the news he brought has got wind, as I believe it has through his groom, he will scarcely be so well received as usual in the village.”

A piece of news being a rare and welcome thing among the inhabitants of Brooke, whether high or low, the whole family party looked eagerly to my father for an explanation. He went on:

“Sir Henry tells me that an act of Parliament is likely to be obtained for inclosing Brooke common.”

“O, our pretty common !” cried I. “So we shall see it all divided into patches, with ugly hedges and ditches between. I shall never have any pleasure in walking there again.”

“And we must give up playing hide and seek among the hillocks,” said one of the boys.

“And there will be no place for me to fly my kite,” exclaimed Frederick; “and Arthur must not swim his boat on the pond, I suppose.”

“What are the poor people to do with their cows?” added my mother.

“You too, my dear !” exclaimed my father, smiling. “I was going to tell the children that they must not set an example of discontent to their poor neighbours; and now, I am afraid, I must begin my lecture with you.”

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“You will not need,” replied my mother. “I am well convinced that it is right that waste lands should be inclosed: but the first thought which occurred to me was the immediate distress which such a change would cause among the cottagers.”

“I am sorry for them,” said my father, “because they will be full of alarm, and may, by mismanagement, make that an evil which ought to be none. If they choose, they may be the better for this change. Whether they will choose it is the question.”

“That they will be the better in the end, I have no doubt,” replied my mother. “But how are they to do without pasture for their cows in the mean time?”

“An allotment of land will be given to each,” replied my father, “which may be made much more valuable than the right of common, of which people think so much.”

“But, mamma,” said I, “you spoke of the common as waste land, just as if it was of no use to anybody. Surely, if it feeds cows for the whole village, and geese besides, it is quite useful enough?”

“Not if it can be made more useful by cutlivation, Lucy,” said my father. “It is now but poor pasture for a score of cows and a few geese. If it can be made to produce abundant food for double the number of cattle, and some hundreds of human beings besides, we may well call its present condition waste, in comparison with that which will be.”

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“But it will be very expensive work to bring it to this state,” argued I. “How much it will cost to make the fences and prepare the ground before anything will grow in it!”

“That is the affair of those who are going to lay out their capital upon it,” replied he. “You may trust them for having made their calculations that they will be repaid in time. If you should see that day, if you live to admire fine fields of corn and valuable plantations flourishing where nothing grows now but heath and broom, you will wonder that you could ever lament the change because it has cost you the loss of a pretty walk.”

I was ready to allow that my regret was selfish.

“As for you, children,” added my father, turning to the little boys, “it is natural that you should ask about your kite and your boat. I can tell you for your comfort that the pond is not to be touched, and that there will be plenty of room for some years to come for all your sports. The whole common will not be enclosed at once, and the level ground will be taken in first. So you may play at hide and seek among the hillocks till you grow too old for the game.”

As we went for our evening walk, we could perceive that there was an unusual stir in the village. Two or three old men, who were always to be seen about sunset sitting on the bench under the elm in front of the public-house, were smoking tbeir pipes very quietly; but more than the usual number of gossips was standing round Edition: current; Page: [9] them, and the politicians who took the lead in the discussion of the news were holding forth with more than common energy of speech and action.—On one side of the tree two men appeared engaged in an argument less vehement, and to which there were no listeners. One was Sergeant Rayne, who, having spent many years in foreign parts and lost an arm there, had come back, covered with glory, to spend his remaining days in his native village, where he was looked up to as a kind of oracle on account of his superior knowledge of the world. His companion was the grocer, who conceived himself to be little less of a man of the world than Sergeant Rayne, since he had paid three visits to London, and many more to the market town of M—.

I directed my father's attention to this pair of speakers, exclaiming,

“How I should like to know what they are saying! They look as earnest as their neighbours, though they are less noisy.”

“It is easy to see,” replied my father, “that there is speechifying going on on one side of the elm, and argument on the other. I am glad of it, if, as I suppose, they are discussing the inclosurebill; for I was afraid they were all of one mind, all opposed to it.”

As we passed Miss Black's, we saw her talking at the door with Mr. Gregson, the smart young haberdasher, who was the lady's man of the village. As it was a rare thing for her to condescend to gossip with her neighbours, except at the tea-table, we concluded that she too had Edition: current; Page: [10] heard the news, and that concern for the interests of her cow had overcome her usual dignity.

We were always sure of hearing the substance and result of every argument which took place within the parish of Brooke, in the space of twenty-four hours at farthest, from a reporter as faithful as he was minute.

Carey the barber, who shaved and dressed my father every morning, would as soon have thought of appearing unprovided with razor and soap as with a report of what passed under the elm the evening before. All that he heard there was told, whether my father listened or not, If left to talk without interruption, he was satisfied with the mere pleasure of talking. If encouraged by observation and reply, he was doubly pleased. He considered that it was his office to speak and my father's to hear, and was resolved that the duty should be thoroughly performed on his part at least. Happy would it be for society if every office were filled with equal zeal and industry!

“I hope, sir,” said he, the morning after the occurrences I have related,—“I hope, sir, you enjoyed your walk last evening? Charming evening, sir! I saw you pass as I was with my neighbours at the Arms. Charming evening, indeed!”

“Very pleasant; and I suppose your neighbours found it so, as they did not disperse till late. We were home later than usual, and yet you were all as busy talking when we returned as at sunset.”

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“True sir; very true: though I am ashamed to say I did not see you pass the second time. Yet not ashamed either, for I believe it was quite dark. We had a very animated discussion, sir. We were occupied with a subject of very unusual interest, sir; though I assure you it did not prevent my observing to Wickstead that I supposed you had gone round by the lanes, as nobody had seen you return. But, as I was saying, sir, if we had remained under the elm till this time, it would not have been very surprising.”

He paused to observe whether he had raised my father's curiosity. He was satisfied by the reply:—

“Indeed! I do not remember that even when the French invasion was expected, any discussion lasted all night. It must be something of high importance indeed.”

“It is sir, as you say, something of the utmost importance,—as much as the event you speak of. It is in fact an invasion that we apprehend, sir: an invasion of our privileges, of our rights, which are perhaps as valuable to us as our country itself.”

“What can have happened?” said my father. “You alarm me, Carey.”

“I am happy to hear it, sir. The best service which I can render to myself and my friends is to alarm those who have the power to defend our rights. It was agreed last night that as it would be proper to rouse Jowler if your house was attacked, it was now our part to awaken you, sir, to guard our properties. I hope no offence, sir, Edition: current; Page: [12] in comparing you to Jowler; but you perceive what we mean; or rather what Tom Webster means, for it was he that said it, being, as it were, the speaker of the assembly. But I assure you, sir, when your constant anxiety for our welfare was mentioned, we all said ‘Amen!’ so that you perceive no disrespect was meant by the comparison of Jowler.”

“But let me hear what it is that you apprehend,” said my father. “What is this terrible news?”

“It is said, sir, that an Act of Parliament is to be obtained for enclosing Brooke common.”

“So I have heard,” replied my father, quietly.

“Then I conclude it is true,” continued Carey; “and the only obstacle to our proceeding immediately to action is removed. Our meeting will no doubt be held without delay.”

“What meeting?”

“I will tell you, sir, briefly what passed last night. As soon as I arrived at the Arms, I heard from Wickstead that Sir Henry Withers's groom had called in the morning and announced the news of which we are speaking;-—that the common is to be inclosed, and that we are to be, deprived in consequence of the right of grazing our cows there.”

“Without any exchange?” inquired my father. “Without any advantage being afforded instead of it?”

“The groom mentioned none, sir. Sergeant Rayne said, indeed, that in these cases a piece of Edition: current; Page: [13] land was given to each person instead of the right of common; but we do not know whether it is true. And if it is, what then? What am I, for instance, to do with a bit of land? Only conceive, sir!—Well: we were all of one mind at once, with the exception of Sergeant Rayne, who, between ourselves, has the most extraordinary notions on some subjects. We at once determined to make a stand against oppression; but we should not have known the best method of doing so if it had not been for Tom Webster.”

“Who is he?” asked my father. “I did not know we had a person of that name in the village.”

“No wonder sir, for he has only just arrived—two days ago, I think. He is a cousin of Harper's,—a very fine young man, but out of health. He lives at M—, and is come on a visit for the sake of country air and quiet. A very fine young man he is, sir, and has seen a great deal of the world. If he stays long enough, I should hope he may infuse much spirit into our meetings, and impart a degree of polish to our society.”

“And what is his advice on the present occasion.?”

“That a public meeting should be held, sir, at the Withers' Arms, and that a petition should be presented to the legislature against the threatened measure. He offered (having been engaged in a public meeting at M—) to prepare and move the resolutions, and proposed that Sergeant Rayne should be invited to take the chair, in case Edition: current; Page: [14] you, sir, as we feared, should decline doing us the honour of presiding.”

“I disapprove the object of such a meeting, and could not therefore preside,” said my father.

“We feared so, sir; as the groom said he believed you and his master were both of one mind,—both opposed to our opinions.”

“And what says Sergeant Rayne?”

“He too is of the objective school, sir.”

“Indeed! And were his objections listened to?”

“We thought it better to defer the consideration of them till the day of meeting. Every one, as Tom Webster says, will then have fair play, be he friend or be he enemy. So we proceeded with our arrangements till the sergeant made a very sensible remark, which put an end to our measures for the time. He observed that we were by no means certain of the fact regarding the common, which was indeed the case. But now, sir, we can proceed on your authority.”

“Remember,” said my father, “that I know no more than that the act is likely to be obtained, and—

“True, sir; very true: but we must bestir ourselves now or never.”

“Observe also, Carey, that the reason why I do not countenance your meeting is, that I believe it to be for the interest of Brooke and of every person in it that Brooke common should be cultivated.”

“Indeed, sir! Well, as Tom Webster says, there is no end to varieties of opinion in this Edition: current; Page: [15] strange world; and where there is a difference, discussion is a very good thing.”

“I am quite of Tom Webster's opinion there, Carey; and therefore I shall always be ready to explain the grounds of my opinion to any one who cares to know them; and I am equally ready to hear any defence of the other side of the question.”

“Why, then, if I may ask, sir, do you refuse to attend our meeting?”

“Because I understood that the object of the meeting is not to discuss the question of inclosing waste lands, but to petition Parliament against the measure in our own case.”

“Exactly so. Tom Webster said nothing about a public meeting for the sake of mere argument.”

“Probably not. Besides, your evening conversations would answer the purpose as well, every man in Brooke being present, I believe. Only I suppose you are all on one side of the question.”

“With the exception of the sergeant, sir; and he is so quiet, that little could be made out of his opposition.”

“His quietness speaks in favour of his opinions to my mind,” observed my father; “for he is not too indolent or too timid to say what he thinks. He is not afraid of standing alone, is he?”

“O dear, no, sir! Far from it. He was a brave soldier, and does not know what cowardice is, one way or another. I hope we all approve Edition: current; Page: [16] frankness and fair play; and therefore, sir, if I have your leave, I will declare to him for his encouragement that you are on his side, and will represent to him, as faithfully as I can, the views which you have done me the honour to explain.”

“I was not aware,” said my father, laughing, “that I had put you in possession of my views. They are no secret, however, and every one may know them who wishes it.”

With a compliment to my father's condescension, the barber withdrew.


We happened about this time to want an errand-boy, and looked round among the cottagers' families to see who were the poorest or the most burdened with young children, that we might offer the place where it would be most acceptable. My brothers and I were willing to teach reading and writing to the lad that should be chosen, for there was no chance of his having learned so much beforehand; and my mother hoped she should have patience to bear with the dulness and awkwardness common to most of the children of the village, and to train him to be not only an honest, but an intelligent servant.

My mother went with us one day to the cottage of George Gray, a labourer, who had eight Edition: current; Page: [17] children, and but small wages to maintain them upon, and who would probably be very glad to send his eldest boy to service.

The children were, as usual, at play near the cottage. Billy, the eldest, was mounted on a donkey, while three or four of the little ones were attempting to drive the animal on by beating him with sticks and bunches of furze.

“Do look at that stupid animal,” cried Frederick. “Why does he not canter away with the boy instead of standing to be beaten in that manner?”

“He is heavily clogged,” said my mother.

Before the words were spoken, Frederick and Arthur were off at full speed, crying, “Holla! holla! down with your sticks. How can you beat the pour animal so when you see he is clogged, and can't move a step with any one on his back?”

“He'll go well enough sometimes,” said one of the children, raising his bunch of furze for another blow.

“Stop!”——cried Arthur. “Don't you see that if he moves a step, down goes his head, and the rider slips off.”

One would have thought the donkey knew what was passing; for the next time he was touched, he stooped his head, kicked his hind-feet high in the air, and threw Billy to some distance. Away scampered the tormentors: my brothers laughed, and Willy got up whimpering and ashamed.

Well, Billy,” said my mother, “you have Edition: current; Page: [18] had riding enough for to-day; and to-morrow you will remember that donkeys cannot run with their legs tied.”

We left him hiding his face and rubbing his knees. The eldest girl was sitting on the step of the door, hushing the baby to sleep. Three or four others were making mud-pies just under the dunghill. Hannah Gray, their mother, was in the cottage, setting out the table for dinner: for it was near one o'clock. The potatoes, which formed their daily meal, were boiling on the fire.

In answer to my mother's inquiry how all went on at home, she answered that they were much as usual; that was, poorly off enough; for they had many mouths to fill, and but little to do it with. My mother thought that so fine-grown and healthy-looking as the children were, some of them might be able to bring in a little money. Their mother explained that the boys cut firing on the common and drove home the cow, and that Peggy nursed the baby. But she did not see how they could do anything more profitable. They were too young yet to work much, and would have hardship enough, poor things, when they grew up.—My mother believed that children thought it no hardship to be employed, but were proud to be useful, and often found their work as amusing as their play.

“Well, ma'am,” said Hannah, “I am sure I do not know what work I could give them that they would like.”

“Will you let me try?” inquired my mother. Edition: current; Page: [19] “I want a boy to clean the shoes and knives, and weed the flower-garden, and run errands; and I will make trial of your eldest boy, if you choose to let him come.”

Hannah dropped a curtsey and looked very thankful, but said she was afraid Billy was not fit to go into a gentleman's family, he was so unmannerly. My mother said she should not make that an objection, if he was a good boy; knowing as she did that those who wish to please soon learn the way.

Hannah declared the boy to be a good boy, and very sharp-witted, considering how little he had been taught. How to get clothes for him, however, she did not know; for the rent had been paid the day before, and she had not a shilling at command. It was settled that he was to be clothed instead of having money-wages at first.

On inquiring into the condition of his clothes, it appeared that he had neither shoes nor stockings.

“I thought, Mrs. Gray,” said my mother, “that your children never went to church barefoot.”

“They never did till lately, ma'am; but I cannot afford stockings for so many, nor shoes either; and they do not mind going without, poor things! I was so ashamed, ma'am, and my husband too, the first day they went to church on their bare feet. I thought everybody was taking notice, and I am sure the parson did Edition: current; Page: [20] when he spoke to us in the churchyard. But it can't be helped.”

“I am not quite sure of that,” replied my mother. “You know I promised that my housemaid should teach your girls to knit; but you have never sent them.”

“Why, ma'am, I am not the less obliged to you; but they have no time, you see. There's the baby to take care of.”

My mother looked out of the window and saw three little girls still making mud-pies.

“Why should not they be knitting at this moment,” said she, “instead of soiling their clothes and their faces, and learning habits of idleness?”

“Well, to be sure, ma'am, if you think they can learn—”

“Let them try. In another twelvemonth, those three girls will be able to knit stockings for the whole family, and the elder boys might earn their own shoe-leather presently.”

George Gray was now seen approaching, talking earnestly with a well-dressed young man. They entered the cottage together.

“Your servant, ma'am,” said George. “This is Tom Webster,” he added, seeing that Tom looked awkward.

“What is the matter, George?” said his wife, who saw by his face that something disagreeable had happened.

“What is the matter!” cried he, flinging his hat into a corner in a passion. “We are going Edition: current; Page: [21] to be ruined; that is what's the matter. Here have I been working as hard as a horse for years, and we have both been pinching ourselves just to be able to feed the children, and now after all we must go to ruin. We must give up our cow; we must give up our firing: the common is going to be inclosed!”

“Perhaps not, if we hold a meeting,” said Tom.

“Nonsense, Tom!” cried George. “You talk of your meeting; but what will be the use of all we can say, if the rich men and the parliament have settled the matter between them? No, no; the thing is done, and my landlord has got the last rent I shall ever pay.”

Hannah sank down in a chair as she heard these words.

“I hope you will find yourself mistaken there,” observed my mother. “Have you heard that, in case of the common being inclosed, a piece of ground will be given to every housekeeper in return for his right of common?”

“Surely, George,” said his wife, “that makes a difference?”

“A very great difference,” he replied, “if the lady be sure of it. I make bold, ma'am, to ask?”

On being assured of the fact, George turned round upon Tom to ask why he had not mentioned it.

“Such a promise as that is always made,” said Tom, “but it is never kept. Besides, if it was, what would you do with a piece of ground? You could not afford to till it,”

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“Leave that to me.” said George, brightening up. “I may find my own ways and means to keep my cow after all: so remember I make no promises about the meeting till I am sure I have heard the whole truth about the common.”

Tom Webster went away, looking a little mortified; and, as it was dinner-time, and the potatoes were ready, my mother also took her leave, advising George not to be hasty in blaming public measures before he knew the reasons of them. George promised this all the more readily for hearing what favours were designed for his boy. Billy was called in to receive his firs lesson in good manners, and to hear what brilliant fortune was in store for him. He was to get himself measured by the tailor and shoemaker, and to make his appearance the next Monday morning.

Instead of turning homewards, we prolonged our walk through the lanes to a considerable distance.

When we entered the village, we observed as great a bustle in the street as if it had been the day of the much-talked-of meeting. A crowd was slowly making its way along the middle of the street. At first we thought it was a fight; but there was no scuffling, no rocking of the group backwards and forwards as in a fight, no giving way and closing again as if there was fear of any object within. Before we were near enough to see or bear, Sir H. Withers's carriage came along the street, and the crowd being obliged to give way to let it pass, we saw in the Edition: current; Page: [23] midst a ballad-singer—a youth with tattered dress and a bundle of papers. As the carriage passed, he raised his voice in song, as if to catch the ears of the coachman and footman who were looking back from the box. Ballad-singers and ballads were sufficiently rare at Brooke to justify their curiosity. They soon heard what made them long to stop and hear more, as they no doubt would have done if the carriage had been empty. The singer bawled after them in something like music,

  • 'Twill be all a humbug
  • To talk of deprivations,
  • When the pheasants roost snug
  • In Sir Harry's new plantations.

“It is about Sir Henry Withers!” cried my brothers; and they were running off to hear more, when my mother called them back and bade them walk quietly beside her, and wait till they got home, to hear the rest of this beautiful song. We were favoured with another verse, however, when the ballad-man saw that we were fairly within hearing. It ran thus:

  • Let your babes cry with cold,
  • For the turf it is sold,
  • And the cows are all gone.—Why, you blockhead!
  • Fire and food are but trash,
  • So they're now turned to cash,
  • And they dangle in Malton's big pocket.

Just as the last quaver on the big pocket died away, we turned into Miss Black's shop, where I wanted to make a purchase.

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Miss Black appeared from an inner room with her usual trailing curtsey, her everlasting brown silk gown, black silk apron, mits on her hands, and scissors at her girdle. The only variation ever observed in her indoor dress was in the cap, which changed its make and the colour of its ribbons every month: the reason of which was, that she wished to be neither in the front nor in the rear of the fashion, and therefore adopted the youngest but one of the fashions for her own. Perhaps this was on the same principle which leads some tender mammas to pet the youngest but one of their tribe, feeling that it is unjust to discard it in favour of a newer, while it is not quite able to take care of itself. Miss Black reaped the reward of thus bestowing her patronage where it was wanted; for she looked so well in whatever she wore, (from her manner of wearing it,) that her last month's stocks sold off among the farmers' families, within a few miles, who could aspire to nothing in the way of dress beyond looking as genteel as Miss Black.—In one respect she did not look like herself this day. There was a shade of care on her brow such as I had never seen before, but on occasion of the illness of a favourite apprentice, and once besides, when there was a report of a change in the silk-duties, and she could not make out whether it would be for her advantage or not. Her private anxieties, however, did not impair her civility to her customers, and she began, —

“Great revolutions in these days, ma'am, both in public and private. I am sure I hope Billy Edition: current; Page: [25] Gray will be as sensible as we could wish of his good fortune.”

My mother, laughing, inquired how this piece of domestic news could have travelled so far already. The matter had not been mentioned till two hours before.

“So I understand, ma'am. But Mr. Webster carries news fast, as he has nothing else to do, you know. It was he who told somebody at the bar of the Arms, where Mr. Gregson's boy was at the time, and Mr. Gregson just stepped across to tell me.—Not quite broad enough, miss? I am afraid I have not any of the same shade of any other breadth: but perhaps you are not exact about the shade.—Great revolutions as I was saying, madam.” And she sighed.

“Have you taken the alarm too about the common?”

“As to alarm, ma'am, I hardly know what to say, for I do not wish to meddle in politics, and am not clear on the point. But I really am perplexed; for do you know, ma'am, I have had Mr. Webster and Mr. Carey both with me to say that, as the owner of a cow, I must be present at their meeting either in person or by proxy; and you know, ma'am, nothing is so injurious to a business like mine as taking any part in public affairs. On the other hand, these gentlemen assure me that silence will be construed as an affront to the public of this place. If I could only make out how to avoid offending any party—Three yards and a half, miss? Edition: current; Page: [26] Thank you. Three yards and a half.—Then there is another circumstance, ma'am, which I am not afraid to mention to you. Mr. Webster assured me so positively that cockades would be worn at the meeting to mark the opposite parties, and he told me so particularly what the colours would be, that I did not hesitate to write to M— to order ribbons: and now Mr. Carey insists upon it that there will be no cockades; so that I am quite at a loss whether or not to countermand my order. He says that laurel will be worn by one party and oak by the other; but he does not even know whether there is to be gold-leaf. Now really, this being the day that I must write to M—, I am quite perplexed.” And she looked inquiringly at my mother, who asked her whether she was sure there would be any public meeting at all. This new doubt was very astonishing to Miss Black; but it determined her to countermand the ribbons; and she heaved a deep sigh when the matter was settled, as if a heavy load was removed from her mind.

Carey waylaid us at the door, under pretence of a necessary inquiry, but evidently for the purpose of finding out whether we had heard the ballad. While talking about it, he smirked, and rubbed his hands and checked himself so strangely, as to excite some suspicions in my mother's mind concerning the authorship. She remarked that it was astonishing that the people at M— should take so much interest in the affair as to print songs about it, and send somebody to sing Edition: current; Page: [27] them to us. Carey observed that ballad singers were always ready.—But this man, my mother was sure, was not a regular ballad-singer. Indeed! who was he then?—If my mother might guess, he was a gipsy, hired by some village poet; and that poet she fancied might be Mr. Carey.

Carey smiled, and fidgeted more than ever, while he pretended to disclaim the honour, and vowed that he never wrote a whole song in his life except on wedding occasions; and talked a great deal about his professional avocations, and the muses, and his desire at the same time to guide the public mind, &c.

My mother replied, that, as to the honour, there was none in stringing rhymes, unless they had reason in them; and that she hoped that before he and Webster composed their next joint production, they would make sure that they were “guiding the public mind” in the right track. She urged his calling in the remaining stock of ballads, but he was ready with the: answer that every one was sold. This fact and the pleasure he felt in becoming known to us as a poet, supported his self-complaceney under my mother's mortifying remarks; and be looked as smiling as ever when he made his parting bow and tripped away to his shop.

His reports of the conversations under the elm continued for some days to be very interesting. Tom Webster bustled and declaimed, while Sergeant Rayne quietly argued. The light and giddy sung the ballad daily and hourly when Edition: current; Page: [28] they had once caught the tune; while the grave and thoughtful weighed the pros and cons of the argument till they had made up their minds. It was finally agreed that no petition should be sent to parliament. In reply to the angry remonstrances of the orators, some declared that it was too late; others that it would be of no use; some said that it was a folly to suppose that the poor could hold out against the rich; others, that as Sir H. Withers and Mr. Malton had always been kind landlords and good men, they ought to he trusted now. Some few declared that, from all they could learn, it seemed to them that the measure of inclosing the common would be of service to the interests of the village.


One fine September morning, on returning from a ride with my father and Frederick, I was surprised to see from a distance what an animated scene our common presented. There were groups of children; but they were not flying their kites. There were many women; but they were neither cutting furze, nor tending their cows. Men were arriving from all sides, seeming disposed to see what was going forward, rather than to sit down to dinner at home.

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We put our horses to a canter, and soon arrived at the scene of action. The people were observing the motions of the surveyors, who, accompanied by Sir H. Withers and Mr. Malton, were settling the boundaries of the land to be inclosed. The variety of countenances plainly declared how various were the feelings with which the proceedings were viewed. I was myself so sorry that the time was come when ugly hedges and ditches must spoil the beauty of my favourite walk, that I could not wonder at some of the lamentations I heard around me, or at the sour looks with which the strangers were regarded.

“It's a fine thing,” said one, “to be a baronet. It's a fine tiling to have one's own way with parliament, and to do as one likes with land that belongs to people Who can't defend their right to it.”

“It's a fine thing to be a great farmer,” cried another. “There's Mr. Malton, who has so much land that it takes him hours to ride through it—he is able to get as much more as he likes because he is rich. Parliament never asks whether the land he wants belongs to anybody else, or whether he has not enough already; but as soon as ever he wishes for more, he gets it.”

“Remember that he pays for it,” said a neighbour. “He takes no unfair advantage of anybody. You have no reason to complain, for you. have no right of common; and if we who have choose to exchange ours for a bit of Edition: current; Page: [30] land, what is that to anybody but ourselves? I say it is very wrong in you to make your neighbours discontented without reason.”

“You say so,” retorted the other, “because you hope to get work under the surveyors. I hear you have hired yourself out as a labourer already, and I wonder you choose to have any thing to do with such a business. If my boy had the offer of work on this spot to-morrow, he should not take it.”

“Then somebody would soon be found to take it instead,” replied the neighbour. “It will be a happy chance for many of our labourers; and I do not believe any body will be the worse in the end for Mr. Malton's being richer.”

“How should that be, if He takes the money out of our pockets?”

“That is the very thing that I deny. I say he puts money into our pockets in return for our labour; and out of the ground and our labour together, he gets back more money than he paid to us. So that he grows richer without making us poorer.”

When we joined the gentlemen who were talking with the surveyors, Mr. Malton was observing that he was sorry, but not very much surprised to remark how much discontent existed among the people on account of this new proceeding.

“One cannot expect,” said Sir Henry Withers, “that they should look forward beyond the present inconvenience to the future profits in which they will share with us. All that they think Edition: current; Page: [31] about now is, that their cows cannot feed where they have fed; but if thev could see how, in a hundred years, a multitude of their descendants will be supported by the produce of your fields, and how the value of the land will be increased by my plantations, they would wonder at their own complaints.”

“They will not trouble you much, Sir Henry,” replied Mr. Malton. “You and your ancestors have always been allowed to take your own way in this neighbourhood. It is with me that they are the most angry; but I can bear it because I see where the mistake lies, and that time will explain it. It is natural enough that men should like being proprietors better than being labourers; and because I laid several small fields into one farm, they fancy I have injured the former proprietors; though they would find, if they chose to inquire, that the very men who were starving on land of their own, are now flourishing on the wages I give them. Now, in times like these, the friends of the people will think more about how to satisfy their wants than to flatter their pride.”

Frederick and I looked at one another, wondering how it could happen that a man should be richer without land than with it; but as my father seemed to agree with Mr. Malton, we supposed there was something more in the matter than we saw. My desire to understand the opinions of the gentlemen made me attend to whatever was said this morning or at any future time on the subject of this important inclosure, I Edition: current; Page: [32] had many opportunities of learning what my father's opinions were and why he held them; for it was a common practice with his neighbours to come to him for advice when they were in doubt, as well as for assistance when they had need. On the present occasion, so much of his time was taken up in arguing, explaining, and advising, that he jokingly said he thought he must call the inhabitants together to hear a lecture, or conduct a public disputation. My own convictions, from all that I heard, were, that no man can be properly regarded as an enemy to the public who so manages his capital as that it may produce the largest returns, whether that capital consists of ten thousand acres, with droves of cattle and spacious granaries, or of half an acre with a single pig. If a man obtains his property by fair purchase, and makes it produce the utmost that it can, he is a friend to the public as well as to himself and his family; since production is the aim of all such management, and the interest of every individual in the society. I therefore looked on the baronet as a public benefactor when I saw him planting his pines, beeches, and alders here, and his oaks and chestnuts there; because I knew that a vast increase of capital would be the result. I looked on Mr. Malton as a public benefactor when I saw him draining and manuring his new land; because I foresaw that these tracts would afford food and work to hundreds of a future generation. I looked on every labourer as a public benefactor who put his wages out to increase, Edition: current; Page: [33] either on his slip of garden-ground, or in improving the condition of his cow and pigs, or in the Savings Bank. Every man who assists the accumulation of cattle is a public benefactor, because he improves the fund for the employment of labour, and adds to the means of human subsistence and comfort, it was now George Gray's turn to try what he could do for society by improving his own condition. He was now a capitalist; and it remained to be seen whether he could, by prudence in the outlay and by saving, make his capital accumulate.

On the Monday morning he brought his boy Billy, according to appointment, to take the lowest place among our domestics. The lad was much abashed at being shown into the parlour; and being besides rather sorry to leave his brothers and sisters, and much encumbered with his shoes and stockings and other new clothes, he turned very red, twirled his hat round and round, shifted from one leg to the other, and at last, on being spoken to, began to cry. His father told him he ought to be ashamed of himself for crying before the ladies; but that only made the matter worse. My mother, wisely supposing that the best way to stop his tears was to give him something to do, took him into the garden and shewed him how to weed the flower-beds. His father did not immediately take his leave, but said that he wished to consult his Honour on a matter of some importance, if his Honour had time to listen to him.

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My father laid down the newspaper and was ready to hear.

“I believe you know, sir, that every body who keeps a cow on the common is offered a bit of land in exchange for the grazing and fuel?”

“Half an acre each, I understand, Gray.”

“Yes, sir. Half an acre each; and we may have it at the back of our cottages, or farther on the common, Whichever we like.”

“So I hear; and you may sell it to Mr. Malton, on fair terms,;if not inclined to keep it.”

“There is another person too, sir, who has offered me the same price as Mr. Malton; and I think, being a friend, he should have it if I sell it at all. My neighbour Norton has a mind to begin upon a farm of his own; and this, to be sure, is his time, when land may be had cheap.”

“I hope he will take care what he is about,” replied my father. “He is doing very well now, I believe. Why cannot he be satisfied without running risks?”

“Why, sir, he has saved money for the first outlay upon the land; and I suppose he understands his business very well, having practised it so long on Mr. Malton's ground. And you know every body likes to be an owner as soon as he can.”

“Many a proprietor wouhl be glad to be a labourer again, in times like these,” said my father; “and I wish Norton may not feel that by and by. However, that is his own concern, and Edition: current; Page: [35] neither you nor I have any business with it. Do you mean, then, to sell your allotment to him?”

“That is what I wished to consult your Honour about. Harper told me yesterday that he has settled his bargain already with Mr. Malton, and that you approved of it; but I hear this morning that you have advised one or two of my neighbours very differently.”

“I have given different advice where the cases were different, and I have always mentioned my reasons, so that my neighbours might have the power of judging for themselves. If you know my reasons, you can easily guess what I should recommend in your case.”

“I did not hear, sir, why you advised them as you did; and I supposed that what was good for one would be good for all.”

“By no means, Gray, till all are rich or poor alike, and otherwise circumstanced in the same way. A shopkeeper, like Harper, may find it convenient to have a cow, while he is at no expense for it beyond building a shed and paying a trifle for having her driven home, and at no trouble but having her milked; but it becomes a very different matter when he must cultivate a piece of ground to provide food for her. His time is taken up with his business, and he knows nothing about the management of land; so that he must employ labourers; and the utmost profit of a cow would not repay him for this. I think, therefore, that he and our other shopkeepers Edition: current; Page: [36] have done wisely in selling their land and their cows.”

“But you think, sir, that Sam Johnson should keep his half-acre?”

“Yes. I think he is in favourable circumstances for making it answer; and I have advised him to get another cow, if those of his neighbours who are without will agree to take milk of him. Johnson's wife knows how to conduct a dairy; his children are growing strong enough to give him help in his tillage; and being a labourer, he has many hours at his own command which a shopkeeper has not. So, if he works hard and manages cleverly, I think he will make a good profit of his allotment; and so may you, for the same reasons.”

“Would you have me sell milk, sir?”

“No. I should think one cow and a couple of pigs are enough to have on your hands, as your children are young, and your wife much occupied with them. But milk is an article of so much importance in a large family, and the produce of a cow such a comfortable, thing to depend on, that I am always glad to see a labourer able and inclined to make the most of it.”

“I have often thought, sir, that there was no telling what would have become of us if it had not been for our cow.”

“You will find her of much more use to you when she is properly fed. Her milk will be twice as good and twice as plentiful when her Edition: current; Page: [37] food is raised from your own land; especially if your wife knows how to manage her.”

“Pray,” inquired my mother, who had just entered the room, “has your eldest girl learned to milk and churn?”

“Why no, ma'am; but I think it is time she should. She might help her mother much that way.”

“Indeed she ought; and if you like to let her come here at milking-time, our dairy-maid shall teach her to milk. Very few people are aware how much the value of a cow depends on the skill of the milker.”

Gray bowed, and thankfully accepted the offer.

“I believe, sir,” he said turning to my father, “that I shall keep my bit of land, or part of it. But I shall want a little money, you know, to lay out upon it at first; and I have no means of getting that but by selling a part.”

“It seems a pity to sell,” said my father, “because as your boys grow up, you will be able to make a profit of the whole, perhaps. I am not sure, either, that you will want money at all. I will come down to your cottage and see the condition of the land and of the place altogether, and give you my opinion upon it.”

When Gray was gone, my father and mother agreed that it was a good opportunity of trying what could be done for the welfare of a large and very poor family by clever management on their side, encouraged by advice, and countenance Edition: current; Page: [38] on ours. We hoped to improve their condition, without either lending or giving them money; and they were industrious and tolerably prudent, and we ourselves much interested for them. My father was not a man to forget his promises, or to keep his neighbours waiting for the performance of them. The same same evening we directed our walk towards Gray's cottage.

The ground was declared to be of a promising quality, and was conveniently situated behind the cottage It was Gray's intention to fence it immediately, and turn in his cow to bite off the grass and help to manure it. But the great difficulty was to feed his cow through the winter, as his own land would not be ready for many months, and the small pickings from the lanes and hedges would go but a little way. My father promised to consider the matter; and went on to examine the state of every part of Gray's premises. The cowshed was in bad repair. There were holes large enough to admit the wind and rain: the floor was wet and uneven, and not paved, as the floors of all cowsheds ought to be. My father showed Gray the advantage of having the ground slope a little, and told him how easily he might manage to pave it with stones (which are to be had every where), and to mend the thatch with heath and furze from the common. He advised that a pit should be dug near the shed, and close by where the future pigstye was to be, to collect the manure; and that the sweepings from the cottage floors, Edition: current; Page: [39] the collections which the children might make from the roads, and the wash and boilings of all sorts, should be thrown into it to increase the stock. Gray seemed willing to receive and act upon all his advice, especially when he found there was no need at present to lay out money upon his land. He declared that he did not grudge labour, nor care how hard he worked, if he could have a fair prospect of bettering his condition.

“Such a prospect I think you have,” observed my father, “if you really do not mind hard work. But we have laid out a good deal for you. Here you have, besides your regular work, to fence your ground, and repair your shed, in the first place; and I should not wonder if you must pay for the subsistence of your cow this winter by extra labour.”

“I should be very glad to do so, sir, rather than part with her; and by this time twelvemonth, perhaps, I may see my way before me better than I do now.”

“Indeed I hope you will, Gray; and then we shall see you living upon something better than potatoes. Potatoes are very good food in part; but I like to see a hard-working man enjoying his bread and beer, and sometimes a dish of meat. If you manage to keep a pig, this will be in your power. In the mean time, do not be uneasy about how your cow is to be fed this winter. She will have the range of the common for two months to come: and I advise you to Edition: current; Page: [40] get on with your fencing and repairs before that time is over.”

My father represented to Mr. Malton the difficulty of the cottagers about keeping their cows through the first winter. The number of these animals was very small, as most of the villagers had sold theirs to the neighbouring farmers; and, as the common was to be open for some time, and a bite of grass was to be had in the lanes, the quantity of turnips required for the cattle would not be great. It happened too that Mr. Malton wanted more labourers on his new land than he could easily obtain; so that the wages were somewhat raised, and he was glad to employ all who were willing for a greater number of hours in the day. It was presently settled, to Gray's great satisfaction, that he should pay for the feed of his cow by two hours extra work per day, as long as Mr. Malton could so employ him.


Sergeant Rayne was a happy old man. Every body loved him for his kindness of heart, and looked up to him with respect for the simplicity of his character, and for the wisdom he Edition: current; Page: [41] had gained by his travels abroad and his meditations at home. The labourers of the village were always ready to stand and chat with him when he had inquiries to make about their families. The housewives invited him in as he passed their doors, and wiped down a chair for him. The children brought him nosegays as he sat beneath the elm; and it was his delight to take one on his knee and collect the others round him, while he told long stories of his adventures on land and sea. It was amusing to witness the eagerness of the little creatures—one holding his face between both her hands lest he should look away before the tale was ended,—another crowding question upon question faster than they could be answered—a third uttering an impatient “hush!” at each interruption. He allowed them to do what they liked with him; and one little rogue used to creep up behind him on the bench to peep into the pocket which sometimes contained apples and nuts, while another amused himself with buttoning and unbuttoning the empty sleeve which the sergeant was wont to consider his most honourable badge of service. When my mother and I went to a shop, we often found him seated beside the counter, reading the news to two or three listeners; and more frequently, as we passed through the churchyard, he was to be seen on the bench in the lime walk, with spectacles on nose, intently reading one of the good books which he valued more than newspapers, chat, or child's-play, dearly as lie loved them all. When so engaged, Edition: current; Page: [42] no one interrupted him, and he took notice of nobody but the clergyman, to whom he never failed to offer his best bow. They usually entered into conversation on the subject of his reading or on the results of his meditation; and the clergyman has more than once told me that he owes to Sergeant Rayne many a topic for a sermon, and many a hint which he afterwards found valuable in his intercourse with his flock.

On one occasion, he conversed as freely with me as if I had been the clergyman. His spirit was moved, and it was a relief to him to express his feelings where he knew he might look for sympathy.

He was sitting in the churchyard, one bright, mild noon of a late autumn day. He had been reading, but had put down his book with his finger between the leaves, while he watched the motions of the sexton who was digging a grave near him. When he heard the rustling of my little dog among the fallen leaves, he turned and saw me approaching from the stil. I thought there was a look of invitation in his eye; and when he brushed a few dead leaves from the bench, I took my seat beside him.

“That grave is for old John Williams, I suppose?” said I.

“It is; and I was just grieving in myself that he who is about to be laid there should have gone down to the grave in sorrow, after a life of usefulness and honour.”

“You mean on account of the ill-doing of his son Hal?”

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“Yes, miss: and not only that, but of the change in the family altogether, and of the difference in their prospects from what his were at their time of life. I remember what a happy family they were fifteen years ago, when he owned his little farm here in the neighbourhood. His sons in the field and his daughters in the dairy were as fine a set of lads and lasses as could be seen. And now to think how some are dead and others dispersed, and the favourite of all likely to come on the parish through his own imprudence,—it does make one's heart ache.”

“And the poor old man himself,” said I, “was supported by the parish during his time of infirmity.”

“Yes, miss; and that of itself would have brought him to the grave if his childishness had not saved him that pain. He deserved better from his favourite son than that he should marry before he could afford it, and turn over his old father to be maintained by the parish.”

“Did you ever tell the young man so?”

“Why, miss, I thought if his own natural affections and sense of duty were not enough to guide him, there was little use in my saying any thing. But this much I did tell him: that I had more pleasure in making my old mother comfortable with my pay than I could ever have had in indulging my own wishes; and that I am happier in my old. age without wife or children than I could have been under the thought that she had died in the workhouse.”

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“And what did he say?”

“He smiled and said I had never been in love; but—” the old man sighed and shook his head.

“I am afraid,” said I, “Hal has not much comfort in his wife; for they seem to have gone down in the world sadly since they married.”

“True, miss: and the old man knew this before he died; for he became sensible both of this and of his son Richard's death. Richard, you know, miss, was a seaman, and was supposed to be at the other side of the world at this time; but a week ago, a letter came to say that he was dead; and it enclosed twelve pounds, which he had saved from his pay and left to his aged father. I told Williams all about it, and shewed him the letter and the money; but his memory so failed him, that he did not know who I was speaking of: and he forgot the whole the next minute. But O! miss, it all came back upon him at the last; and I shall ever bless God that I heard him speak rationally once more. He grew weaker every hour; and there he sat crying and wailing like a child, or talking so foolishly that one did not know how to answer him. But I have heard him speak like a man again, as sensibly as ever in his life, and with far more dignity than his son knew how to face.”

“It is a great consolation,” said I, “when the mind which has been long clouded becomes clear at the last.”

“A great consolation, miss; and never so Edition: current; Page: [45] much to me as in this case. He was too weak to be got up, the last morning; and when I went, he was either asleep or so quiet that we thought him so. I offered to sit by him till his son came from work; and I was reading in the armchair by the bedside when he raised his head and said, quite in his natural voice, ‘is that you, sergeant?’ I saw at once that he was quite, sensible. He asked who that woman was at the fire; and when I told him it was his daughter-in law, Ann, his son Hal's wife, he repeated the words to himself, and mused for a while, and then asked for Hal. Hal came in at the moment, and his father spoke to him as if they had not met for years. ‘So you are married, Hal,’ said he, ‘and I did not know it till now. Well, that is no fault of yours. But where's Richard now? Has he been to see us, and I did not know that either? O, but surely I remember something about him. Did not you tell me, sergeant, that he died? My poor son! But he only went a little while before me.’ And so he ran on till we told him he had better not exhaust himself with talking, and I drew the curtain that he might try to sleep again. He lay very quiet till his son and daughter left the room; and then, opening the curtain, he beckoned me close to him, and said he was sure I would tell him the truth, and that he wanted to know whether Hal was not very, very poor, as he observed that the best furniture was gone, and that the room looked comfortless. I could not deny that they were poor. He went on to Edition: current; Page: [46] ask how they had supported him; and his look and manner were so earnest, and he did so insist upon his right to be told the whole, and it was so clear that he had some notion of the parish allowance, that I could not keep the fact from him. As soon as he had made out that he had been a burden on the parish, he turned away and hid his face under the clothes. I did not, for some time, venture to take any notice; but at last I said, as gently as I could, that there would never again be such a necessity, as he was now well supplied with money. He soon recalled the circumstance of his son Richard's legacy, and then made me tell him how many weeks he had received an allowance from the parish. ‘Forty-nine weeks, at four and sixpence a week; how much is that? More than I can pay, I am afraid. But I can't reckon it; will you?—Eleven pounds and sixpence, is it? Well, I am thankful I have the money; and I beg, sergeant, you will write a letter from me to the over seers.— now, before Hal comes in. Sit by me, and I'll tell you what to say.’ So, miss, he told me clearly what he wished me to say; and his letter was so proud and yet so humble! He said he hoped he could submit to be a burden at the last, if it should be God's will; but that he had never intended to be so, and would not while he could raise a shilling by other means; and so he begged to send back all they had allowed him. Hal looked surprised and vexed, when he came back, to hear what had been done; and he whispered to me that I knew very Edition: current; Page: [47] well how long his father had been superannuated, and that he hoped I should not fling away the money in any such manner, though it was very well to humour the old man by pretending to do as he wished. I made no answer, but I have the money and the letter safe, and they shall go to-night; for my good friend was as much in his right mind as you or I, miss; and more, I should say, than his son Hal. ‘There is but little left, Hal,’ said he; ‘but it will be more than I shall want; for I am just going. I wish I could have left you something more than my love and thanks for what you have done for me. I am afraid I have Been a sad trouble to you; but good children find all this trouble turned into pleasure when they look back upon it in after times.’ He went on speaking for some time; but his speech became less clear and his countenance altered, till he sunk back and breathed his last. I have thought of little else, ever since, Miss Lucy; and between joy to think how he recovered himself after being so long childish, and sorrow that he will never speak to me again, my heart is quite full still.”

The sergeant seemed so much affected, that I tried to divert his attention by inquiring into the beginnings of poor William's troubles.

“Why, miss, he and I were never agreed about matters of that kind. I always took a different view of his difficulties from what he did; and I should have tried a different way to get out of them, As soon as the war ended, his Edition: current; Page: [48] reverses began; and like all the rest of the farmers, he complained of the hardships of the agricultural classes, and that they had not fair play. It was of no use my reminding him that the farmers made enormous profits during the war, which could not in the nature of things be kept up for any long time: he was still crying out for higher duties on the importation of corn, and complaining of the prosperity of manufactures: just as if the welfare of the one class did not depend on that of the other. Then Mr. Malton's taking several farms into his own hands was a great grievance to him. When I saw what was doing, I advised him to keep no more land than he had capital to make the most of, and to send his children into the world, or let them provide for themselves under Mr. Malton; but he would do no such thing. So, from keeping more land than he could cultivate properly, his capital was returned in less and less proportions, and he went down in the world, and his children with him, till ruin overtook most of them.”

“It seems a hard thing,” said I, “that these large farmers should ruin their humbler neighbours; and why need it happen now more than formerly?”

“Changes are always going on in society, Miss Lucy, and there are usually some who suffer, and many who are benefited by these changes. Whenever such a change takes place, we hear a cry in favour of old times, and complaints that we do not go back to the old ways. But, to say nothing of the good or evil of old Edition: current; Page: [49] ways, is it possible to go back to them? In the present case, for instance, is it possible to set back our population, our manufactures, our modes of tilling the ground, to what they were when small farms were not found fault with? Certainly not: so the question comes to this:—having a multitude more mouths to feed, and requiring more and more capital to make the ground yield its utmost, is it wiser to obtain an increased production by changing our farming system, or to let the poorer population starve, that a certain class may continue to be landed proprietors who cannot properly afford to be so?”

“It is clear,” replied I, “that the general good must be considered before the indulgence of any particular class. But to whom is this question referred?”

“That is another point to be considered, miss. All these great questions are decided by the public interest, (unless some meddling law is interposed,) and not by individuals. As long as more corn is wanted, there is no use in railing at large farmers, or at those who buy of them, or at anybody. The demand cannot be prevented, and the supply will follow of course. Seeing all this, I could not be discontented with Mr. Malton for improving his land and trying new methods by which more corn was brought to market and at a cheaper rate than formerly; though I was sorry for Williams and others who could not keep up with him. My poor old friend never could agree with me there; nor Edition: current; Page: [50] could he hear with patience of the inclosure of our common. He was always afraid of too much corn being grown, and would never believe that the more food is raised, the more would be wanted.”

“Did he not see that a multitude in this kingdom have not food enough?”

“That, miss, he could not dispute; but his argument was, that while farmers are poor, there must be too much corn in the market. I never could get him to tell me why, if that were the case, Mr. Malton and others were busy enlarging their farms and taking in waste land.”

“That is what I was going to ask,” said I. “How can Mr. Malton afford to lay out a great deal of money which the land cannot pay back for years, if the business of farming is an unprofitable one?”

“He knows very well that whatever may be the changes of prices and the rise and fall of profits at various times, there will be a lasting demand for the produce of the soil; and that therefore landed property, with a sufficiency of capital to lay out upon it, must be a safe and lasting possession in the long run. For that long run he, as a large capitalist, can afford to wait.”

“Then it is an advantage to the public whom he supplies, and to the labourers whom he supports, as well as to himself, that he should carry on the work he has begun?”

“Certainly. He is preparing to feed many hundred human beings where only a few lean cattle grazed before. He circulates money now Edition: current; Page: [51] among his poor neighbours whom he pays for making his inclosures. They are very glad of their increase of wages, (as you may see if you go among them,) however much they may mourn over the loss of their common. This winter he will turn in his large flocks of sheep to bite every blade of grass and manure the ground. In the spring he will plough up the land, and afterwards sow it with turnips. Next winter, his sheep will feed off the turnips and give the land another dressing; and, during all this time, he is laying out a great deal of money on his fields without any other return than the scanty feed of his flocks. But, after this time, his land will begin to pay him back the expense of the purchase, of the fences, of the use of the teams, of the seed, and of the human labour which has been employed; and when it is improved to the utmost, he will probably find, or his children after him, that it is well worth while thus to employ his capital, and thus to wait for his profits.”

“If, for many years,” said I, “there has been less food in this country than was wanted, how happens it that so many commons are still uninclosed?”

“Because it often answers better to improve land already cultivated than to spend money on wastes. Of late years, agriculture has been much studied in this country, and means have been discovered by which lands that have been under the plough for hundred of years have been made to produce more by half than in old times. This Edition: current; Page: [52] is the way that Mr. Malton grew rich. If there had been nothing more to be done with his fields than formerly, he would probably have taken in the common some years ago: but his time and money have been occupied in trying new methods of cultivation, which have answered very well and enabled him to increase his capital, notwithstanding the badness of the times, from which he was no more exempt than other people. Having brought his estate into a high degree of cultivation, he is now able to add to it.”

“And to fix his capital,” said I, “amt wait for returns in a way which is not practicable for a small capitalist. Poor Williams, if he had been alive now, must have had his capital reproduced immediately or have been at a stand.”

The sergeant smiled while he observed that he saw he was not the only person who had conversed with me on the employment of capital. I told him how often I bad listened to conversations between my father and his friends on the philosophy of the changes which were taking place in our village.

“There is another way,” said I, “in which it seems to me easy to prove that there is the best economy in large farms. If industry is limited by capital, and if a capital grows faster in proportion to its increase, a large capital must afford increased employment at a quicker rate than several small ones. Do you see what I mean?”

“Yes, miss; and I think you perfectly right, Here is a case. Mr. Malton began, we will say, Edition: current; Page: [53] with a farm of three hundred acres, and three neighbours with each a farm of one hundred, his capital being just equal to that of the three together. Mr. Malton would have the advantage, in the first place, of having his capital better invested. His one set of farm buildings would require less fixed capital than their three sets, though his might be treble the size. His fencing and the disposal of his fields might be managed to better advantage. He might proportion his stock and instruments more exactly than they could to the work to be performed—finding, for instance, that five horses could do the work which it would require a pair of horses on each of the three small farms to do. The fixed capital thus saved, Mr. Malton could employ at once in improving his land, and thus preparing for a further increase of capital; while his neighbours could only go on as they did before. When these improvements bring in their profits, he has a further sum to lay out in the employment of labour, and the fruits of that labour enrich him still more; and all this time, his three neighbours are left further and further behind, though their smaller capital may be growing in its due proportion. At the best, at the end of a few years, they can only make the most of their one or two or three hundred acres, while he supplies society with the produce of his one or two or three thousand.”

“Do you know,” I asked, “with how much land Mr. Malton began the world, and how much he has now?”

“I rather think he began upon six or seven Edition: current; Page: [54] hundred acres; and now he has some thousands under his own eye. One of his tenants holds a farm of fifteen hundred, and another of twelve hundred acres; and these men adopt all Mr. Malton's improvements that their capital will allow, and have so increased the productiveness of their land as to be truly public benefactors.”

“Poor Norton will hardly have any chance of improving his little fortune in such a neighbourhood,” said I.

The sergeant shook his head, and said that he had tried to explain to Norton that as industry is proportioned to capital, it must answer better to let the labour of a society like ours to a large capitalist than to split it into portions which could not yield so full an aggregate return; but that Norton liked the idea of being a proprietor, and would listen to no evil bodings.

“If you were to go abroad, again, sergeant,” said I, “what would you do for want of somebody to advise? I suppose you found no foreigners so ready to look up to you as we are in your native village?”

“My business abroad was not to teach but to learn,” he replied, smiling. “Yet there were some who used to ask me questions by the hour together about the ways of my own country. It was the examination that I was thus led into that induced me to consider the reasons and rules of our public and domestic economy in the way which makes my neighbours here come to me for advice.”

“What sort of people were they who used to Edition: current; Page: [55] question you?” I asked. “Soldiers do not generally study these matters much.”

“It is a pity they do not,” replied he, “so much opportunity as they have of observing the ways of different countries. Those that I speak of were mostly soldiers, however; they were my companions in the hospital where I lost my arm. I was confined there many weeks, and a prisoner too; so that I was glad to amuse my thoughts by conversation whenever I could get it.”

“You could speak Spanish, then?”

“I managed to pick up enough both of French and Spanish to make myself understood. If I bad not, I should have been forlorn indeed, for not an Englishman was in that hospital but myself. I think I hardly could have borne to lose my liberty, my limb, and all intercourse with my countrymen at once, if I had been unable to talk with the people of the place. As it was, it was sad enough.”

“I have always wished,” said I, with some hesitation, “to hear the history of that terrible time from yourself; but I never ventured to ask it.”

The sergeant smiled as he assured me that I need not have scrupled, as it was a pleasure to him to go back to the remembrance of old times.

“I will begin with telling you, miss, how I got my wound. It was the first wound I ever had, though I had been often in the very thick of the fight. It was strange enough that on this particular day——”

Just at this moment the clock struck one. A Edition: current; Page: [56] shade passed over the face of the old man, and he stopped short. Knowing his passion for punctuality, I started up with many apologies for having detained him so long, and promised to call on him one day for his story, which it really was no little disappintment to me to give up for the present.

Before I left the churchyard, I looked back and saw that, though he was late for dinner, the sergeant had paused to look once more into his old friend's grave.


A large portion of the newly-inclosed land belonged to Sir Henry Withers, whose plantations were celebrated in verse, as we have seen, in company with Mr. Malton's fields. Sir Henry had had a world of trouble in laying his plans about these plantations; for, in addition to the discontents of the people about the common, he had met with opposition from other quarters. Every arable cultivator grumbled over Malton's pastures and Withers's woods by turns. Every shepherd looked upon every spot occupied by a tree as so much food taken from his flock. Sir Henry's bailiff himself could not bear to see a Edition: current; Page: [57] rood of ground that was worth any thing for other purposes devoted to planting, and was continually offering his advice as to how much should be taken in, and how large a sweep the fences should make. If his master had followed his advice, his plantations would not only have made a very extraordinary zig-zag patchwork, but the expense of fencing round so many odd angles would have exceeded the saving in good land; to say nothing of the advantage lost to the trees planted in a poor soil by having none of the protection of more flourishing neighbours. Sir Henry and his forester laughed together at the idea of having his plantations look like an assortment of pincushions, and of rearing a mile of fence where half a mile would do, for the sake of saving a few acres more for the plough. These two carried their point against all the little world of Brooke; and the future woods were appointed to sweep round the foot of this hill, to retire into yonder hollow, to wave on the top of that healthy slope, and to shelter from the north winds all this expanse of corn-fields. It was a delight to the imagination to picture what they would be a hundred years hence, when hanging woods would ornament a landscape at present bare and barren.

It was partly this pleasure, and partly the activity of the scene, which made us love to watch the process of planting. The inclosing was the first work; and we were for stone time in dread that stone walls would be the kind of fence fixed upon, as the soil was too poor for a quickset Edition: current; Page: [58] hedge, considering the great extent to which it must have been carried; and fences of furze and larch would have required too much attention in the neighbourhood of such large flocks of sheep as Mr. Malton's. Sir Henry, however, could not tolerate the idea of stone walls any more than ourselves, and determined to construct an earthen fence which might last for nine or ten years, by which time the thinnings of the plantations might provide a substitute. A ditch was dug, sloping outwards but presenting a straight cut of a foot and a half next the plantation, on the verge of which was raised a wall of sods, three or four feet high, round the top of which ran a single bar of paling.

The next operation was to drain those portions of the soil which required it—a trouble and expense which, though great at first, becomes less and less burdensome every year; since, if the drains are properly kept open and scoured, so that the water may remain pure enough to nourish the trees, it will be gradually absorbed by them, so as to turn a swampy into a firm soil. The marking out of the road and paths was done at the same time with the draining, as one ditch served to drain the road on one side and the plantation on the other. This part of the work was the most agreeable of all to lookers-on, and to a man of taste like Sir Henry, who saw how much of the use and beauty of his woods depended on this part of his plan. He pointed out with delight how air would be conducted into the recesses of the groves by these pathways; and how Edition: current; Page: [59] the road, now barely marked out with the spade, would soon become a dry green sward, where the fellings of the woods would be hereafter collected, and where their owner might go to and fro to watch how his forest nurslings throve.

Our next curiosity was to know what trees Sir Henry meant to plant the most of. There were to be oaks, of course; but a far greater proportion of larch. “Larch! ugly, mean-looking larch!” we exclaimed; and went on to rail against its appearance when planted in small patches, or on the ridge of a hill, cr sloping away from the wind. But Sir Henry told us that if we had seen forests of larch we should have had a very different idea of its beauty. He had been in Switzerland; and he described to us the sublimity of the woods there, where the mountains are clothed with larch as high as any vegetation can stretch, and where the tender green of its young shoots in spring is as beautiful as its sober autumn shade is grand. To comfort us under our complaints that we were never likely to look upon Swiss mountains, he told us that we need go no farther than Scotland to see what a forest of larches might be made. He owned, however, that he had regarded use more than beauty in his choice of the larch. This tree grows better on exposed and poor soils than in rich and sheltered situations;—not so fast, certainly; but its timber is of a better texture, and it is free from blight. The oak and ash, therefore, were planted on the best parts of Sir Henry's grounds; and the rest was given up to Edition: current; Page: [60] the larch, which was expected to grow more rapidly than all the trees of the forest besides, to furnish wood as tough and durable as that of the oak, and moreover to improve the quality of the ground as rapidly and effectually as could be done by any other process. By the annual casting of its leaves, the larch enriches the soil beneath as with a regular supply of manure. The coarse heath gradually disappears, and the finer grasses spring up, till a larch wood becomes, from being a barren moor, a pasture land carpeted with white clover: a wonderful change to take place without any assistance from human labour beyond that of putting larch plants into the ground. The plantation may be used as pasture without injury to the young trees, after a ten years' growth; and hence arise other advantages,— shade to the flock in summer, warmth in winter, and shelter from the storm. What wonder that Sir Henry planted many larches!

Few rural employments are more interesting to the by-stander than that of planting. I have stood for hours with my brothers, watching the people at their work. First a labourer took off with his spade about a foot of turf, and laid it aside, while he dug the pit, and broke the clods, and loosened the soil near. Then his wife, if he had one, or his boy, placed the plant, just brought from the nursery, in the earth, and spread the roots abroad in their natural direction, taking especial care not to twist or bruise the tender fibres which draw nourishment from the soil. Then the pit was filled up; the earth being Edition: current; Page: [61] first gently sprinkled over the roots, and afterwards turned in and trodden down. The turf was next cut in two with the spade and laid upside down on each side of the plant, so as to meet round its stem. The purpose of reversing the turf is that the nursling may not be affected by drought, or injured by the growth of grass or weeds close beside it. We were sure never to be long at any one spot without seeing either Sir Henry or his forester, who were always going their rounds among the labourers. They told us that no one thing is so much to he dreaded in the work of plantation as slovenliness in putting the plants into the ground; and as it was impossible to convince the labourers of all the mischief of bruising or twisting the roots, there was nothing for it but keeping an eye upon them continually, to see that they did not make more haste than good speed. For this reason, planting was not in the present case, as in too many, done by contract; but even here, where the labourers were paid by the day, they were apt to grow impatient and think it foolish to fiddle-faddle about the root-fibres of a tree as carefully as about the tender organs of an infant. They made many attempts, too, in order to save trouble, to bring more plants at a time from the nursery than they could set before night: but the forester having once found half-a-dozen covered over in a ditch during a frost, made such vehement complaints, that thenceforward the nurslings were removed as they were wanted and in security.

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I began this winter by admiring Sir Henry's benevolence to future generations more than I saw reason to do afterwards, I imagined that he would reap none of the fruits of his present outlay of trouble and capital, and that all that he did in planting was for the sake of his children and his country. He did consider both. He was well aware of the value of an ample supply of timber to a nation like ours, whose naval resources can never be too plentiful, and whose magnificent works of art create a perpetual demand for the treasures of the forest. He was mindful, also, of the vast increase to the value of his estates which he might provide by planting his inferior lands; but, with all this, he hoped, as it was fair he should, that his own revenues would be improved by the same means, perhaps before he had passed the middle of life. I was present one day when he was pointing out to my father the difference in his mode of planting two portions of land, and the comparative profit he expected to receive in a few years.

“These fifty acres, you observe,” said he, “are not for pasturage, though you see two larches to one oak. Half the larches are to remain for timber trees; the other half are nurses, and will be thinned out in five or six years.”

“O dear!” interrupted I, “before they are large enough to be of any use.”

“I expect they will pay me,” he continued, “for the outlay on all these fifty acres. They would be worth little if we lived far away from any population but that of our own estates; but Edition: current; Page: [63] there is demand enough for bark, for poles, &c., to take off all I shall have to dispose of. The bark will sell for about half as much as oak bark; I suppose it will fetch from four to five pounds a ton. The quality of the wood is so good, that stakes and poles of it are in great request for gates and palings. The smaller sticks I may want myself; or if not, Mr. Malton or other farmers will be glad of them for supports for their sheep nets, when the flocks are eating turnips off the ground. They sell at about a shilling a dozen.”

“You will pay yourself in six years at farthest,” said my father. “Do you expect to make more or less of those other fifty acres where you plant larch only?”

“More in the long run, but nothing for ten years or upwards. I have not planted so close there, you see; so that there will be no thinning at the end of five years. The original expense of planting is less, of course;—about twenty shillings an acre, at the most. Then we must remember the rent of the soil, which is perhaps a shilling an acre.”

“Then to this thirty shillings an acre,” observed my father, “you must add the ten years' interest, and the outlay on inclosing; there are no other expenses, I think?”

“Not any. There are twelve hundred larches on each acre. I shall remove one-third in ten years; and it will be strange if the bark and timber of four hundred do not pay all the expenses we have mentioned, with compound interest. Edition: current; Page: [64] Then I shall have eight hundred trees on every acre, the very lowest value of which will be ten pounds; and the ground will be worth four times what it is at present. It will be pasturage worth letting by that time.”

“Then,” said my father, “after having paid yourself, these fifty acres, which were a month ago worth a rental of only fifty shillings, will bring in ten or twelve pounds a year, and have five hundred pounds' worth of larches upon them. Upon my word, this is a pretty profit!”

“Consider, too,” said Sir Henry, “that without costing me a farthing, more, the thinnings of the plantation will add to my income at a continually increasing rate. I shall be able to employ more and more labourers every year:-—not that I need tell you so; but I put in this observation for your daughter's sake. She looks quite disappointed in me—disappointed to find that I look for any profit from the measures which will benefit my family and society at large. Have I guessed your thoughts rightly, Miss Lucy!”

So rightly, that I blushed and my father laughed, while he assured Sir Henry that we none of us doubted his disinterestedness.

“What different ways there are of benefiting one's country and posterity, in different parts of the world!” 1 exclaimed. “In Canada, a landed proprietor would clear away as many trees as possible, I suppose, if he wished to do a patriotic thing.”

“It is one of the most interesting employments I know of,” said my father, “to trace how Edition: current; Page: [65] the same principles lead men to directly opposite or widely different modes of conduct, according to circumstances; and if men studied this fact a little more carefully than they do, the world would be incalculably happier than it seems likely to be for some time to come. If statesmen and legislators saw that usages and laws must be varied with lapse of time and change of circumstances, we should be freed from many useless institutions. If our men of power saw that what is beneficial to a country in one age may be hurtful in another, we should have a better economy and a wiser distribution of our wealth. If our people discerned the same thing, they would leave off complaining of new measures because they are not old, and railing against their best friends because the advice they offer would not have suited the condition of our grandfathers.”

Sir Henry observed that he had heard far more said about what would have been thought of Mr. Malton's large farm a century ago, than what ought to be thought of it now. In the same manner, the wise men who study how the resources of the nation may be best managed and improved are called hard-hearted, because the measures they recommend are different from such as were necessary when our population was less numerous, when there was less competition in commerce, and a smaller demand for agricultural produce.

“There can be no surer mark of ignorance and prejudice,” observed my father. “The Edition: current; Page: [66] king of Persia is prejudiced when he laughs at a king of England for having only one wife; and every Englishman who thinks the king of Persia wicked for having twenty, is ignorant. He does not know that the religion of the monarch allows the custom. Any one of our labourers would be prejudiced if he blamed an Indian for waste for burning a whole pine-tree at once; and that Indian would show himself ignorant if he laughed at Sir Henry for spending so much time, and labour, and money, in planting trees, of which the Indians have more than they know what to do with.”

“Any one such instance,” observed Sir Henry, “is enough to silence for ever all objections to plans because they are new. I would desire no better instance of the variations introduced by time into the way of employing labour and capital than the one you have reminded me of, by your mention of Indian forests. There was a time when this island was as much overgrown with wood as any part of North America now is.”

“What a different place it must have been then!” said I.

“Diffrent indeed! Vast forests extending over whole districts; the climate as cold as now in the north of Russia; (for countries in our latitude become temperate only in proportion as they are cleared;) wolves abounding in every wilderness, and swamps spreading in all directions, to the great injury of the health of the savage inhabitants,—such was Great Britain once.”

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“Have swamps any necessary connexion with woods?” I inquired.

“With untended forests, where no care is taken to prevent them, A tree is blown down across a rivulet, and forms a dam. The water, stopped in its course, diffuses itself over the neighbouring ground, and loosens the roots of other trees, and, by becoming stagnant, poisons their vegetation. These other trees fall, one by one, and form other dams; and thus the destruction proceeds, till what was once a forest becomes a bog.”

“This is the reason, then, why trees are found buried in swamps?”

“Certainly; and we know it not only from the fact of trees being so found, but from there being actual instances of such transformations of a forest into a swamp at the present time, in Invernesshire, and some other parts of Scotland. Now, what would a wise landed proprietor do in such a state of the country as this?”

“The very reverse of what you are now doing,” said my father. “He would clear as much ground as possible for cultivation, putting the wood out of the way as fast as it was cut. He would build with it, burn it, and encourage every body about him to use it for all the purposes of life to which it could be applied. He would encourage pasturage, because cattle are scarce in proportion to the scarcity of open ground. These cattle, continually increasing under the care of man, would wander into the woods, and, though they could not injure large Edition: current; Page: [68] timber trees, would prevent the young plants from coming up, and thus prepare for the decline of the forests.”

“If things proceeded in their natural course, the face of the country would be wholly changed in a few centuries,—the hills being bleak and barren, and the vales swampy; the latter having become unfit for the residence of man, and the former an unsheltered and perilous pasture for his flocks. What would a wise landed proprietor do now?”

“He would hang woods on the summits of the hills to protect the herds grazing on their slopes,” replied my father. “He would cut trenches in the valley, and, as an effectual drain, would plant the hollows the first moment that their soil would bear the process. Under this management, the high grounds would become fertile, and the bogs would be converted into firm rich vegetable soil, ready to repay the labours of the plough.”

“Then if you owned the downs of our southern counties,” said I, “or the bogs of Ireland, you would plant and drain and plant again?”

“I should, and as much for my own profit as for the general good; for the price of timber rises, of course, in proportion to its scarcity. Now you see how different is the application of labour and capital in these two states of a country. In the one, labour is applied to banish, in the other to create, woods. In the one, cattle are permitted to destroy the young timber; while in the other every tender shoot is protected Edition: current; Page: [69] at an expense of trouble and money. In the one, growing wood is as little valuable a part of the proprietor's capital as the stones which encumber Mr. Malton's new fields, and of which he can only make the meanest of his fences; while in the other, it is the resource on which the proprietor mainly relies for the stability of his fortune, not only for the income it brings, but for its power of increasing the productiveness of his pasture and corn lands.”

“And do you believe,” said I, “that there are any so stupid as to oppose a different application of labour and capital in these two cases?”

“Not in so clear an instance,” replied my father; “but they will not follow the precedent in cases very like it. Can you fancy a family of natives, living, some centuries ago, in a wattled hut in a wilderness of Cumberland, visited every winter's night by wolves, every spring season with agues, crying out in dismay at the proceedings of a rich neighbour to clear the ground? They would exclaim against having their old customs broken in upon, and would talk of the pleasure of gathering acorns for supper in the glades at sunset, and of their hunts, and of the freedom of their wild life. If their neighbour represented to them that acorns had long been becoming scarce from the disappearance of oaks in the swamps; that their children had been swept from their side by diseases belonging to the locality; and that wild beasts were increasing so fast, that there seemed a probability of the hunters soon Edition: current; Page: [70] becoming the hunted, these new notions would only increase their discontent. If he offered to supply them with certain quantities of grain and meat in exchange for wolves' heads, they would complain of the degradation of obtaining their food by rendering service instead of the dignified independence picking up acorns or digging

roots out of the soil. They would complain that he had injured them by fencing in ground where the boar used to stand at bay; and if he attempted to shew them the impossibility of restoring the forest and the climate and mode of life to what they were a hundred years before, and the necessity of making some provision for their altered state, they would, instead of listening, tax him with all the distresses and inconveniences which had been prepared before he was born.— Now, Lucy, can you find a parallel case to this?”

“Very easily,” replied I, “Mr. Malton is the rich neighbour, and old Williams was one of the lovers of the old paths; and if you had told us of one who retired back farther into the swamp and built his hut on the sinking trunks of the fallen trees, I should have thought you were prophesying of Norton.”

“Let us bode him no ill,” said my father, “but rather hope that he will plant his foot on firm ground, whatever we may think of the position he has chosen.”

“I can scarcely imagine,” said I, “that any would be found to object to the second process Sir Henry described. The shepherd, striving in Edition: current; Page: [71] vain to win his way against the snow storm on the uplands, in search of his perishing flock, would surely bless the hand that planted woods to shelter his charge?”

“Even he,” said my father, “would pluck up every sapling if he dared, for shepherds are well known to grudge every foot of soil on which their flock cannot browze.”

“Observe the fact,” said Sir Henry. “Are not my pheasants lampooned before they are hatched? is not every larch in all these acres looked upon as a meal taken from a half-starved cow? When the shepherd finds his flock safe under the shelter of a full-grown wood, he will be reconciled to the planter; and not till then: and if any one of my neighbours should live to rest his aged form on his staff in the noonday sun, and watch his grandchildren, among a hundred labourers, felling wood on this spot, he may look on my grave as he creeps homewards, and sigh to think how he once misunderstood my intentions; but I must not expect this justice in my lifetime.”

“You may,” replied my father; “and if you are spared to a good old age, you will witness as total a change in the views of our discontented neighbours as in the aspect of this waste or the condition of our village.”

Sir Henry pointed to the temporary dwellings which had been erected for the troop of labourers who had come from a distance to work under his forester, (there not being an adequate supply Edition: current; Page: [72] of labour at Brooke for the new demand,) and said,—

“When that row of sheds shall have grown into a village, and when the axe and mattock shall be heard in the woods throughout the winter's day; when the timber-wain shall come jingling down the slope, and the sawyers and woodmen be seen going aud returning early and late, my purposes will be answered, whether I live to see their fulfilment or not.”


I often passed an hour with the sergeant in his neat lodging; and if I went only to inquire after his health, or to ask some question which might be answered immediately, I frequently stood chatting till my brothers came to see what I was about. They, however, were generally my companions, for they loved, like other people, to hear the entertaining stories of battles, sieges, and shipwrecks, and the sadder accounts of the suffering and death attendant upon war, which our friend could relate. As he was as regular in his habits as when subject to regimental discipline, we always knew when we Edition: current; Page: [73] should find him at home. At a certain hour he rose and breakfasted; at a certain hour he took down his hat, hung it on a block and brushed it, and put it on sideways with a soldier-like air, and the people at the Arms knew what o'clock it was by the sergeant's taking his seat under the elm or beside the fire, according as the weather might be. Moving with the sun to the churchyard bench, as regularly as the shade on the dial, he would have been supposed ill or dead if a labourer returning through the stile to his dinner had missed him on a fine day. His landlady whispered to us that he was rather a particular old gentleman, though the most good-natured in the world when not put out of his way; and, indeed, if anything ever did make him look sour, it was his dinner not being ready to a moment. He did not care what was provided for him: he preferred a crust of bread at one o'clock to a goose at two. He could not have told anybody an hour after dinner what he had been eating; but if kept waiting five minutes, he could not recover it till the next morning. His hostess had half a dozen little children, and he was as kind to them as if he had been their grandfather, but warned them of his awful displeasure if they entered his room during his absence. If they came by invitation, well and good; he would do anything to amuse them. He would sing, tell stories, show them pictures, and even play at blind man's buff; though, as he said, it was not fair play with him Edition: current; Page: [74] as he had only one hand to catch the rogues with. Not a rough word was ever heard from him. I remember one of the little ones saying, “Show me how you will be angry if I meddle with your sword. Will you frown like Bonaparte in the picture?” “No,” said another “he will stamp and speak loud, as he told us his captain did when he was in a passion.” The sergeant snatched up his cane, and made his countenance so fierce in a moment, that the children did not know what to think of him. They stared at him in terror till he could not help laughing; and then, I dare say, resolved in their hearts never to set foot in his parlour without leave.

On the present occasion he exclaimed, as I entered the room with Frederick and Arthur,

“I can guess, Miss Lucy, what you and the young gentlemen are come for, and I am happy to see you. You want to hear the little story I promised you; and you shall be welcome to it.”

“I hope you are not busy?”

“Not at all. You are come just in right time. See, I had finished this chapter of my book, and I was putting the paper in when I heard your step in the passage.”

“I want to know,” said Frederick, who was remarkable for always going straight to the point, “I want to know where you were taken prisoner, and how you got home again, and how long it was ago. Lucy says you are going to tell her all about it, and that we may hear it too.”

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“TO be sure you may, my dear boys; so sit down in the window-seat, and I will tell you. It was in Spain that I served at that time, you know, against the French. The armies had been drawing nearer to one another for a long while, and we all knew that there must be a terrible battle when they met. From the state of the roads, however, the whole army could not travel together, and when the van of both forces came in sight of each other, the rest were some miles in the rear. Both sides seemed much inclined for a skirmish, and there was pretty sharp fighting for the whole day before the grand battle. Often as I had been in action, I had never been wounded; but on this particular day, I felt a sort of certainty that I should be.”

“Had you never felt this before any other battle?”

“I think not so clearly; but it may only be that what happened made me take particular notice, and remember very well what my feelings had been. I mentioned this foreboding to a friend, however, and so I suppose I was somewhat struck by it.”

“And did he laugh at it, or call you a coward?”

“Neither the one nor the other, master. Very young soldiers, or men of hardened minds, may make light of the disasters of war, and call it cowardice to reflect upon them and prepare one's mind for them; but my friend was neither giddy nor reckless, and he knew me too well to fancy me a coward. We had fought side by side in Edition: current; Page: [76] many a battle, and I have nursed him when badly wounded; so that we were real friends, and not companions of the camp only. He advised me to ease my mind of all worldly concerns, and to prepare myself in other ways for whatever might happen, as he always did before a battle; so I told him where to find what little money I had, and some letters I had written to my mother and another person——”

“Who was that other person?” interrupted Frederick.

“Never mind who it was,” said I. “You should not ask such a question as that.”

“I have no objection, Miss Lucy, to tell you all. That other person was one to whom I had hoped to be married some time or other; but she was not bound to me, for I told her there was little prospect of my returning home; and if I did, I was afraid I should be very poor; and were getting on in life, and I could not bear the idea of preventing her being happy; so I begged she would not remain single for my sake. I had said this to her a long time before; and my letter on this occasion was to tell her that I still loved her as much as ever; and it was only to be sent in case of my death.—Well: we were very actively engaged all day without my taking any harm, while hundreds were falling round me. Late in the evening, when both parties were tired, and the fire slackened, I passed my friend as we were hastening forward for one other charge, and he called out ‘So you are safe, after all!’ ‘Safe after all,’ I replied, and Edition: current; Page: [77] left him behind. A minute after, a shot struck my right arm while the enemy was pressing round us. I could not defend myself; I was separated from my company, and, of course, taken prisoner.”

“In pain and alone, among foreigners and enemies!” I exclaimed. “How very miserable you must have been!”

“Not so much then as afterwards, Miss Lucy. You, who live in peace and quietness at home, can have no idea of the excitement of spirits there is in battle. One's heart is so full of courage, one's mind burns so with indignation at being made prisoner, and one has so much to think about, that there is no time to be truly miserable.. I felt no pain from my wound at that time. I did not even know that I was wounded, till I found I could not raise my arm.”

“Is that possible?”

“Very true, my dear, I assure you. I was hurried away, I scarcely know how, to one of the baggage-waggons, with many of the wounded besides: but they were all French; not one friendly face did I see. We were laid, one close upon another, on straw, and jolted away, over bad roads to a town where an hospital was established. Some of my companions were in dreadful pain, and their groans made me sick at heart. I now began to suffer much; but I wished above all things not to be spoken to; so I remained as quiet as if I were dead, and closed my eyes. If I could have shut my ears also, I should have escaped many a horrible dream Edition: current; Page: [78] which has startled me since. Many a night, even now. I hear those groans and oaths; and the tortured countenances I used to see often in a battle rise up before me.—Before day-break we reached the hospital; and I was really glad of it, though I knew well enough what was before me.”

“Did you feel sure that you must lose your arm?”

“Yes, master; I felt and saw that it was past cure.”

“And where you much afraid about it?”

“I had thought so much and so often about the chances of such an accident, that I was not taken by surprise; and I was already in so much pain that I was very willing to suffer more for the sake of being rid of it. I sat beside a fire, while one after another of my companions was taken to the surgeons. At last, after waiting an hour and a half, they were going to carry away the man who lay next beside me; but he was a coward, it seemed, and begged to be left. They had no time to waste, and so laid hold of me, and were going to carry me; but I soon showed them that I had the use of my legs at least, and walked as stoutly as any of them to where the surgeons were. They made quick work of it, and scarcely made a show of asking my leave.”

“But I suppose you would have given them leave?”

“I took care to do that. I held out my arm as soon as ever I saw the instruments.”

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“And how did you—how could you bear it?”

“A sturdy spirit will carry one through a great deal, master. I am not sure that I should have borne it so well in England; but I was determined no enemy should wring a complaint out of me. So I was as still as a mouse the whole time; grasping the back of a chair with my other hand so hard that the blood came out at my finger nails. One of the surgeons observed this; and I heard him say that I was a sturdy fellow and fit for a soldier.'”

“Then the pain was very, very great?”

“Much greater than anybody can fancy who has not felt it, or indeed than anybody can fancy at all; for it is not the sort of thing that can be remembered; and I dare say I have little better notion of it at this moment than you have. But such as it was, it was soon over, and then I walked away to bed. There I paid dear for the effort I had made; and I deserved it, for my bravery was not of the right kind and could not last long.”

“Why, what happened?”

“When I was left alone, weak from pain, and still thrilling in every nerve, a tide of most bitter feelings rushed in upon me. Such a tumult of thoughts I never knew before or since. I hid my face under the bed-clothes, that nobody might disturb me; and there for an hour or two I suffered such agony of mind as I can give you no idea of. My pride gave way, and I felt myself as weak as an infant. In vain I told myself Edition: current; Page: [80] that this misfortune was only what I had expected,—only what every soldier is liable to. In vain I called to mind the boasting in which I had indulged before I left home, and the wish which in my youth I had felt for the glory of one honourable wound. This recollection awakened others which subdued me completely.”

“What were they?”

“It happened that the day before I left this place to join the army, the old clergyman, who lived here then, invited me to the parsonage to say farewell. After talking cheerfully to me about my profession, he went out with me as far as the gate: and there he put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, yours is a dangerous profession in more ways than one. You are not only liable to be sent early to another world, but to depart with false notions of glory in your head, and with pride and hatred in your heart.’ He pointed to the graves and went on, ‘See here what becomes of pride and enmity. There have been some of these whose hearts beat as high with various passions as yours will in your first battle. Now, all are humbled and all are still. So it will be a hundred years hence, with the youngest and the fiercest, with or against whom you are going to fight. They too will be humbled and stilled.’—The recollection of this circumstance now came back upon me clearly. I saw the church with the evening sunshine upon its windows. I saw the light flickering upon the smooth stems of the limes. I saw the graves, and also the venerable Edition: current; Page: [81] countenance and gray hair of my kind friend. I heard his voice and the voices of the children at their play. I could almost smell the flowers in his garden, and feel the pressure of his hand upon my shoulder. I lay weeping for many hours, till by thoughts of home, of my mother, and of other dear friends, my mind was prepared for still better thoughts. My Bible was in my pocket, (for I took care to have it always about me,) and there I found a better sort of courage than that of which I had been so proud.—I was soon glad to take some notice of my companions in the hospital; and we managed to be very cheerful and to converse a good deal, as I told you, Miss Lucy.”

“Did the friend you mentioned before know what had become of you? And what did he do with your money and your letters!”

“As he could learn nothing about me, he supposed that I was a prisoner; and he sent all that I had left behind me to my mother. It was not very long before she heard of me, but she had delivered the other letter I spoke of. I was sorry afterwards that I had ever written it.”

Nobody ventured to ask why; but the sergeant has told me since that the young woman had supposed that, as he was so long absent, he would never return and had therefore married. She received his letter soon after she was settled, and was made very unhappy by it for a little time; but I am pretty sure (though the sergeant did not say any such thing) that she had not a very warm heart; or, at any rate, that it had Edition: current; Page: [82] never been very warm towards him. He came back, he told us, a year or more before his mother's death, which was a great comfort to them both.

“I think,” said Arthur, “that you must find the world grown very dull now, that there is no war anywhere in Europe. I wonder you are still so fond of the newspapers.”

“Dull, Master Arthur! I wish such a kind of dulness may last lot ever. It is all very well for people who want amusement to run about the village with news of a victory, and to help to make a bonfire and light up the houses. But if they happen to have a son or a brother killed or manned for life, they may learn by experience what it is that thousands and millions are suffering. If they could take but one look at a field of battle, or an army in full retreat, they would wish for no more victories and illuminations. I hope I have as much of the spirit of a soldier in me as any man: and perhaps all the more for having suffered something for my country; but I do say that nations are only half civilized as long as wars are thought necessary. I say, moreover, that they who are foremost in war are farthest from heaven; for heaven is a land of peace.”

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Brooke looked like a different place at the end of a very few years. In our own house, nothing remarkable had happened, unless it was the growth of my brothers, which was pronounced wonderful every time they appeared from school at Christmas; or that Billy Gray (now called William) had become quite an accomplished little footman. The improvement of his family had advanced as rapidly as his own; and one of the pleasantest changes visible in the place was that which every body observed in the outward condition of George Gray, his wife, and children.

George was a pattern of industry. Before and after his hours of daily labour he was seen digging, hoeing, planting, and pruning in his garden, his boys and sometimes his wife helping him; his eldest girl tending the cow; and the others mending or knitting stockings, or cleaning the house. Even the very little ones earned many a shilling by cutting a particular sort of grass in the lanes for seed for Mr. Malton's pasture land. Each with a pair of scissors, they cut the tops off about six inches long, and filled their sack in a few hours. Mr. Malton's steward paid them threepence a bushel for it, measured as hay. Their work was made easier by this grass being sown in lines along the hedges; and Edition: current; Page: [84] it was well worth the little trouble this cost to secure a constant supply of the seed, which was greatly in request; the sheep being very fond of this pasture.

Gray's boys had all shoes and stockings now, and the girls were tidily dressed. The rent was regularly paid, and their fare was improved. How happened this?—from having ground, and keeping a cow?—Not entirely, though in some measure. The wages of labour had risen considerably at Brooke since the common was inclosed, as there was more work to be done, and the number of hands had not increased in proportion, though the population was already one-third larger than five years before. Gray felt the advantage of this rise of wages, and of having his family employed. He now wondered at his neighbours for letting their children be wholly idle as much as we once wondered at him. When he saw Hal Williams's little boys engaged in mischief, he observed to his wife that one might earn a trifle in weeding, and another in gathering sticks and furze for fuel, and sweeping up the dung and dead leaves from the woods and lanes for manure. But neither Hal nor his boys liked to work when thev could help it, though Hal's wife set them a better example than her neighbours once expected of her. Many a mother shows an energy which never appeared while she was a giddy maiden. So it was with Ann: but it was a pity that she was ignorant of the ways of turning her industry to the best account, so that her desire for the comfort of her husband Edition: current; Page: [85] and children did not do them so much good as she intended.

Hal once observed to Gray that he wondered he could spend so much time and toil on his bit of ground, such a trifle as it was.

“It is no trifle to me,” said Gray. “The time I spend upon it is not great; and as for the toil,—a man with eight children must never grudge labour.”

“Why now, Gray, how much time do you spend on your plot? I see you at work when I get out of bed every morning; and when I come back from the Arms in the twilight, I hear your everlasting spade behind the hedge.”

“That is because I have no hours I can call my own but those before and after work. A couple of hours a day is the most I can spare; and surely it is worth that to be able to keep my cow.”

“What is her value to you, do you suppose?”

“One time with another, she yields five quarts a day, and that is worth two days' wages a week, or perhaps three.”

“Five quarts a day! That never can be. Mine never gave three all the time I had her.”

“Nor mine while she fed on the common: but you know the keep is everything with a cow; and it is no more likely that a cow in the lanes should yield like mine, than that mine should yield thirteen pounds and a half of butter weekly, four months after calving, like a fine North Devon cow of Mr. Malton's that I was admiring the other day. But I call my cow Edition: current; Page: [86] pretty well kept now, and she is worth the keeping. I manage to get many a good dish of vegetables for ourselves, too, out of my garden.”

“But no fruit, I see, neighbour. I like to see fruit-trees in a garden.”

“So do I, where there is ground and money and time enough; but it would not suit me. My cabbages would not thrive if the ground was shaded; and I could not raise fruit enough, or of a sufficiently good quality, to sell to advantage.”

“But it would be a great treat to the children.”

“My children must wait for such a treat till we grow richer. I am thankful enough to be able to give them bread and sometimes a bit of meat, instead of the potatoes we used to live on. Apples and gooseberries will come all in good time. Bread and clothes must be thought of first.”

“And yet you managed to get a pig.”

“Yes. I knew, if I contrived to buy one, I could easily keep it. So we made an effort to save in the winter, and in March I got a fine pig of four months. He was able to graze and eat cabbages and turnip-tops, and we have plenty of wash for him; so I hope, as he has thriven so far very well, he will be in fine condition for killing at Christmas.”

“Will you be able to fatten him liberally?”

“I hope so. He shall have as much barley-meal as he can eat, if I can afford it; if not, pease must do.”

“You will have a houseful of meat at that Edition: current; Page: [87] time. Bacon in plenty, griskins, chines, cheeks, and I don't know what besides; and hog's-puddings and lard for the children! Why, you will live like an alderman's family for weeks. It is a fine thing to keep a pig!”

“It is a great advantage; and considering that, I wonder you don't try, neighbour.”

“When I have eight children perhaps I may; but we get on somehow as it is; and I have quite enough to do, for I don't pretend to work as hard as you.”

“No,” thought Gray, “You make your wife do it instead, while you go and smoke at the Arms.”

Hal's cow had been sold long ago to pay his debts. It had been done during one of his wife's confinements, and it was bad news for her, when she got about again, that it was actually sold and gone. It was some comfort that they owed no money; but it was a comfort which could not last long; for she knew that milk is a dear article to buy, while it is absolutely necessary where there are young children.—It was grievous to see in a short time how poorly they lived. One thing after another was given up. They had long contrived to do without meat; but now they could not afford beer, except a little on Sundays. Hal did not relish milk as when it came from his own cow, but took a fancy to have tea,—the least nourishing and most expensive diet a man can have. To indulge this fancy, the fire was kept in all day, the whole year round. There was an everlasting boiling, of the kettle in the Edition: current; Page: [88] morning, the potatoes for dinner, and the kettle again in the afternoon. Upon this miserable diet they grew thin and sickly; they ran in debt to the grocer till he refused their custom; and to Johnson's wife for milk, till she declared she could not let them have any more. We were passing Hal's door one day, when one of the children entered with an empty pitcher, on seeing which his mother burst into tears. There was but too much cause for her grief. Her hungry children must be content with a drink of water with their crust of bread, for Mrs. Johnson could afford no longer credit. My mother could not bear to see the cravings of the little ones; and she promised to go back with the messenger to Mrs. Johnson and persuade her not to disappoint them for this one day, and to see what could be done for the future: but she declared that the tea must be left off if the milk was to be continued. The poor woman said that she was willing to live in the cheapest way, if the children could but be fed; but that her husband made such a point of his tea that she had little hope of persuading him to give it up.

We took the child back to Johnson's; and there we saw a cheerful sight. Mrs. Johnson was milking one of her fine cows, while the other two stood by; and her daughter was measuring out the milk to the various messengers from the village. There were Miss Black's maid, and Wickstead's boy, and Gregson's apprentice, and Harper's servant, and half a dozen children from the neighbouring cottages, having Edition: current; Page: [89] their pitchers filled with the warm, fresh, rich milk. My mother smiled as she observed to me that the division of labour was not fully understood by our people yet, or they would have devised a better plan than having the time of a dozen people wasted by coming for the milk, instead of employing a boy to carry it round. It struck us both at the same moment that Hal's eldest boy might earn a share of the milk by saving the neighbours the trouble of sending for it. He might soon learn, we thought, to measure the milk and keep the tally.

“I hope we are in time, Mrs. Johnson,” said my mother. “I was afraid your pails might be emptied before we came. You must fill this child's pitcher, if you please, and I will pay today.”

“I assure you, ma'am,” replied Mrs. Johnson, “it made me very sorry to send the boy away; but what can I do? They have not paid me these six weeks, and I cannot afford them a quart a day at my own expense. I have often threatened to send them no more, but I never had the heart to refuse them till to-day.”

“You cannot be expected to lose by them, certainly,” replied my mother; “but I am very sorry they are such bad customers to you. I am sure such milk as that is far better for them than the tea they make.”

“Do you know, ma'am,” said the busy Mrs. Johnson, as the milk went on spurting and fizzing into the pail, “I do believe that tea-drinking alone is enough to ruin a very poor family. Edition: current; Page: [90] We tried it once, and fond enough we are of it still; but though we might afford it better than some people, we now never touch it but on Sundays and particular occasions. Now, can you wonder that I refuse to give further credit to my neighbours, when I know they might pay me, if they chose to manage better, and to give up a luxury which I cannot afford?”

“Certainly not, Mrs. Johnson.—What very fine cows yours are! I suppose you are glad your husband did not dispose of the first you had, when he was tempted to do so?”

“Glad indeed, ma'am. I was always fond of a dairy, and desirous of having one of my own. If you would please to wait a few minutes, I should like to show you and Miss Lucy my dairy. My husband has been making it larger and improving it very much, for I find it a profitable business now, and I believe my neighbours think it answers to get their milk of me; for I could sell the produce of three more cows if I had them.”

“Perhaps we shall see you with a dairy of twenty cows one of these days, if our village flourishes.”

“No, ma'am. Three are as many as I can well manage now, and as many as we can feed. Our lot of ground is carefully managed; and we brew at home now, and the grains come in very well for the cows; so that we are at no loss, so far. But if we were to take in more ground, my husband would not have time to attend properly to it; and we are particularly anxious that he Edition: current; Page: [91] should not neglect his work, so good as wages are now.”

When the milking was finished, Mrs. Johnson took us to the dairy. It was clean, cool, and in beautiful order. A range of cheeses was on a shelf, and they were to be sent to M— for sale. The butter she made was sold to the neighbours. My mother understood the management of this most delicate part of household economy, and agreed with Mrs. Johnson that the habits of cleanliness and care which are necessary to the success of a dairy are most useful to young people, and cannot be more effectually taught than by making them assist in the management of cows.

“My girl was telling me, ma'am, how a neighbour wondered why her cow's milk was not so good as ours, and how, with all the trouble she took, her husband complained, and the children left half their breakfast in their basins. The thing was clear enough. She milked her cow into the first pail that came to hand and let the milk stand in the heat and smoke of the kitchen, in pans that had been used for potatoes, or any thing else they might have had for dinner the day before. My girl told her she might take a lesson from the cow herself; for no cow will taste a drop from a vessel that has held grease. The very breath of the cow is sweet enough to show what care should be taken to keep her milk pure. There is nothing so disgusting in the way of food as tainted milk; and nothing to my mind, ma'am, so wholesome as fresh, rich Edition: current; Page: [92] milk, as sweet as the new-mown grass. Do me the favour to taste some, miss, and I think you will say so too.”

When we had finished our delicious draught, we took our leave of Mrs. Johnson, agreeing that it was certainly a good thing for her that her husband followed my father's advice about his allotment of land, as she seemed so happy among her cows that it was difficult to imagine how she would have lived without one.


See the results of the judicious application of capital,” faid my father, one fine spring day, when I rode with him and Mr. Malton round the thriving property of the latter. After enjoying the view of the manifold tokens of prosperity which surrounded us, we were struck by the appearance of a field which looked by far less flourishing than any we had seen.

“What is the matter here, sir?” said my father. “What have you been doing to keep back this field while all the rest have been improving?”

“Pray do not take this field for one of mine. It belongs to neighbour Norton; and I am Edition: current; Page: [93] afraid that, cheap as he has bought it, he will find it a dear bargain.”

“I feared,” said my father, “that he would not have sufficient capital to keep his land in good condition.”

“Look here,” said Mr. Malton, “this next field is his too, and there he is among the labourers. You may know him now, poor fellow, by his shabby looks. Those labourers are mine, and they appear more creditable, every one, than he. And there is not one of them that does not live in a better house than that of his. That is his cottage yonder. What a tumble-down place for a landed proprietor to live in! Better call one's-self a labourer, in my opinion, and have plenty to eat, and a whole roof over one's head, than pinch and starve for the sake of owning a couple of fields.”

“Yes, indeed. But how does it happen that your labourers are at work in his field?”

“Why, you see the thing is this. He cannot afford a team to plough his field, and he has not sheep to eat off the crop of turnips, (if he had one,) and to manure it; so he meant to let the land lie fallow. I thought this a great pity, so I offered to plough and sow it, if my sheep were allowed to eat off the turnips; by this plan he will have his land manured, and returned to him in a good state, while I shall have an equal advantage on account of my sheep.”

“Surely,” said I, “people who cannot afford a team and a flock of sheep should not attempt to farm?”

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“To be sure they should not, Miss Lucy; and much less to have land of their own. And in these days, when tillage has been so much improved, it is utterly, impossible that a man who has little money at command can bring his crops to market on the same terms with one who has much. You have no idea of the great expense of making land as productive as it can be made.”

“I have heard,” I replied, “that many noblemen and rich gentlemen, who are fond of agriculture, have lost thousands upon thousands of pounds in trying new plans upon their lands.”

“Aye, aye; that is in trying experiments, for which we farmers are much obliged to them, I am sure. We look on while they are making the trial, and have the benefit of their experience. If they succeed, we adopt their plans; if they fail, we take warning. If the small farmers would look on too, they would learn a good lesson; they would see how impossible it is to make the most of land without money, or labour, which is money's worth.”

“In these days,” said my father, “when so much advantage is gained by the division of labour, no one man, and no one family, can do justice to a farm, be it ever so small. It is incalculable what is gained by substituting division of labour for division of land. In former times, Lucy, the proprietor or occupier of thirty or forty acres was thought a substantial farmer. He and his family performed all the requisite labour, even down to making his implements, except, perhaps, the plough. His rickety harrow was Edition: current; Page: [95] stuck full of wooden teeth; the harness was made of withy, or of horse-hair, twisted at home. The wicker baskets, the wooden spoons, the beechen bowls, were made by the men in the winter's evenings; while the wife and daughters carded, and spun, and wove the wool of the flock.”

“But was not the change from those ways to the present very gradual?”

“Yes. The division of labour began in the towns, and farmers found the advantage of buying their utensils and clothing before they put the division of labour in practice in their tillage. They knew little yet of the advantage of providing a succession of employments on their farms, or of portioning out the work to the best advantage. The work of tillage all came on at once; two or three teams were required for a short time, and then the horses were done with, and turned out to graze till harvest, and the plough was laid up till the following spring, and the men, after being excessively busy, looked round for something to do. Now one team suffices for the same quantity of land, as the crops are successive, and a much smaller amount of labour, continually employed, achieves more than under the old system of husbandry.”

“But surely this is a division of time, and not of labour.”

“I was going to add, my dear, that the two advantages can be combined on a large farm, while they cannot on a small one. Norton does what he can by arranging a succession of labour, Edition: current; Page: [96] but its division is out of his power, while Mr. Malton practises both.”

“You may see Norton,” said Mr. Malton, “one day hedging and ditching, another time getting lime for manure, and then obliged to look after his few sheep while the land is wanting him; the ploughing, sowing, cutting, and threshing, all resting on him: while on my farm such of these things as ought to be done at the same time, are so done, while yet there is a constant succession of employments for men and cattle. You may see lime-burners, drainers, hedgers, shepherd's, cowherds, hogherds, ploughmen, and threshers, all busy, helping on the grand work, and nothing standing still. We do not leave one piece of land neglected while we take care of another: every rood is improved; the waste brought into cultivation; the cultivated enriched, and used for one purpose one year, and for another the next. This is the way to make farming answer.”

My father observed that it was a proof what could be done by the vigorous application of capital, when fallows were banished from some districts. Mr. Malton replied, “Our ancestors would scarcely have been persuaded that that was possible; and some folks abroad will hardly believe, at this day, that our best husbandry is found on our poorest soils. But it is a fact, and a glorious fact, because it shows what labour, and capital, and skill can do. If the land had been to this time in the hands of little farmers, this would not, and could not, have been done. What Edition: current; Page: [97] little farmer would ever have covered his whole farm with marl, at the rate of a hundred or a hundred and fifty tons an acre? How should such a man as Norton drain his land at the expense of two or three pounds an acre? Can he pay a heavy price for the manure of towns, and convey it thirty or forty miles by land carriage? Can he float his meadows at the cost of five pounds an acre? It cannot be, you see, that any very small capitalist can compete with a large one.”

My father observed, that convertible husbandry was quite out of the question on Norton's property.

“To be sure,” replied Mr. Malton. “You see, Miss Lucy, it used to be the way for one man to own a certain extent of corn land, and another of pasturage; and, in those days, they did not see the advantage (which is a very important one) of making the corn land into pasture, and growing grain on the grazing land: and this plan can be pursued only by those who have large flocks, as well as a good deal of both sorts of land. Then, again, a farmer must grow a great variety of crops, and maintain all sorts of animals useful in husbandry, in order to make the most of every thing that is produced; for soil of different qualities produces different crops, and these crops feed different flocks and herds; and they must all change and change about continually.”

“What has been your course here?” inquired Edition: current; Page: [98] my father, pointing to a fine piece of grass-land.

“A five years' course. First year, turnips—second, barley, laid down with clover—third, grass to cut—fourth, grasss to feed—fifth, wheat. Next year, we begin with turnips again.”

“I suppose,” said I, “it costs a great deal to keep your flocks and herds, independent of their food?”

“More in one year than Norton has to lay out on his whole concern: and one bad need have capital for this part of one's business; for the profitable management of live stock is by far the most difficult branch of farming. But see what capital and skill have done here too! It is a great thing that improved tillage has doubled the quantity of fodder raised upon any extent of soil; but it is a yet greater that double the quantity of animal food can now be sent to market as the produce of the same quantity of fodder.”

“And is this really the case?”

“It is, indeed; and all owing to the attention paid to the breeding and rearing of cattle by those who could afford to try new methods.”

“The improvement in the implements of husbandry,” observed my father, “is not less remarkable; and this we owe to the large farmer.”

“It is at our cost,” said Mr. Malton, “that new and improved implements, and men to use them, have been sent for, from one end of the kingdom to the other. Some have sent their Edition: current; Page: [99] men into distant counties or abroad, to learn new methods of tillage. What folly it is to suppose that little farmers can farm to the same advantage as people who can adopt all these improvements!”

“If all our farmers were men of little capital,” observed my father, “we should have much less variety of produce in the market, and should therefore be liable to famines, as in old times.”

“I have often wondered,” said I, “why we are free from those apprehensions of famine which disturbed our forefathers so often.”

“It would have been well if they had suffered from nothing worse than the apprehension, my dear. Our ancestors cultivated little besides grain; and a bad season cut off all their crops at once: while, at present, what is fatal to one crop, may not injure another; so that our supply of food is not only more varied and agreeable, but it is no longer precarious. We can form no idea in these days of the intense interest with which harvest weather was watched three centuries ago.”

“We farmers were not ridiculed then for grumbling about weather,” said Mr. Malton, laughing; “for we had the whole nation grumbling with us in a wet season or a drought.—There is another consideration which we have not mentioned. As small capitalists cannot wait for their money, the supply of corn in the market would be very irregular if it depended upon them. They must bring their corn to market and sell it at once,”

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“Then I suppose,” said I, “that in plentiful years there would be too much, and in unfavourable seasons too little, if we had no rich steward, like Joseph, to garner it up, and distribute it as it is wanted?”

“Not only that,” said my father, “but there would be too much every autumn for the good of the farmers, and too little every spring for the good of the people. It is always a pretty certain thing that as much of a good article as can he brought to market will be consumed; but the price, while it is plentiful, would fall so low as to injure the producer; while afterwards, when the people are in want, the producer would have nothing to bring to market. Thus it would be if all were small capitalists; but now, large capitalists, who can afford to wait for their returns, keep back their corn in plentiful seasons: for which those who are compelled to sell are much obliged to them; and the people are no less obliged to them for regulating the supply.”

Mr. Malton looked pleased at this acknowledgment of the obligation the community are under to large farmers.

“So you see, Lucy,” said my father, “that if it were not for large farming, our moors and morasses, and indeed all our inferior soils, would still have been barren: we should have been liable to frequent scarcities; our breeds of cattle would not have improved; and we should have no idea how prolific the soil might be made, or how incalculable a sum of human life may be sustained by it. If the people who rail against Edition: current; Page: [101] the owners of large productive capitals could but be convinced of this, they would soon grow ashamed of their complaints.”

“Perhaps so, father; but surely it is hard. upon the small farmer to go down in the world in spite of all his labour; and it does not seem fair that he should be driven out of the market by his neighbours because he begins the world with less capital than they.”

“Begging your pardon, my dear, that is a more foolish remark than I should have expected from you. When we reason upon subjects of this kind, it is not our business to take the part of one class against another, but to discover what is for the general good; which is, in the long-run, the same as the good of individuals. We are not now taking the part of the large farmers against the small (though Mr. Malton is riding beside us), nor of the small against the large (though we are full of pity for poor Norton); but the question is, how the most regular and plentiful supply of food can be brought to market? If it be clear that this is done by cultivation on an extensive scale, we ought not to wish for the continuance of small landed properties, but rather that their owners may apply their labour and capital where they will meet with a better return. We are all sorry for the little farmers, and nobody more so than Mr. Malton; but the more clearly we see that they suffer through a mistake, the more anxious we must be that the mistake should be rectified.”

“I am sure,” said Mr, Malton, “it gives me Edition: current; Page: [102] great concern to see a man like Norton growing poorer and poorer every year; but I know that it is partly his own fault, because he must see that his mode of tillage can never answer. If I had his lot now in my own hands, I would serve him, not by doing anything to his two fields, but by employing him on good wages. In the one case the help I should give would be all at an end in a year or two; in the other, he would soon be in possession of the comforts of life, and might lay by a provision for his old age; while, at the same time, he would be serving me and society at large by giving up his land to be made more productive.”

“I am aware,” said I, “that an industrious labourer is a benefactor to society.”

“And what more honourable title need a man desire?” exclaimed my father. “Is it not better to deserve this title, and to possess the comforts of life, than to starve on the empty name of a landed proprietor?”

“But is it not a hard thing,” I persisted, “for a man who is born to a few acres to give them up? I do not pretend to justify, Norton's ambition. He might have been content as he was; but it must cost a man a severe struggle to part with his fifty or hundred acres when his fathers tilled them before him.”

“I have no doubt of it, my dear. Such a man should consider what his plan of life is to be. If he has only himself to care for, and a little capital in his pocket, let him remain upon his land, keep it up, and improve it by the saving of his Edition: current; Page: [103] returns if he can. If he has not capital to do this, his duty to the public requires that he should not let his property degenerate. If he has a family to provide for, it becomes his duty to do his best for them— even at the expense of his pride, if need be.”

“His pride should be,” said Mr. Malton, “to maintain his children in decency and comfort; this is a pride worth having.”

“After all,” said my father, “it is not so much that a man loses his rank in these days by becoming a labourer, as that the employment of a labourer has become more honourable than formerly.”

“There is one question more,” said I, “that I want to ask; and it is, why there should be a scarcity in a bad season, even if all our farms were small? lf, in other countries, there is more corn grown than is wanted, why should not we supply ourselves from them? Would not it be a mutual advantage?”

My father smiled as he replied,

“You have no idea on what a wide subject your question touches. If I were to tell you all the whys and wherefores on that question, we should not have done by dinner-time.”

“If you are getting upon the Corn Laws,” said Mr. Malton, “it is time I was wishing you good morning.”

“Not till I have spoken to you about a little affair in which I want your advice,” said my father. “I will not detain you five minutes.”

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While they were talking, I endeavoured to discover what there was remarkable in my question. It seemed to me the simplest thing in the world that if there was too much corn in one country and too little in another, the want of the one should be supplied from the abundance of the other. While I was meditating, my father called out,

“Come, Lucy, your horse is in a reverie as well as yourself, and we shall see you both fall presently, if you do not wake up. Mr. Malton says, ‘Good day,’ and we must make the best of our way home; so now for a canter.”

We cantered till we reached the village.

Miss Black's window looked very gay at this time. She had been to M—to see the fashions at the rooms of a milliner who had been to see the fashions in London. The caps and bonnets were of quite a new make; and there were smarter ribbons and flowers than I had ever seen at Brooke before. She had also another apprentice, and had lately enlarged her show-room.

“I wonder what has happened to Miss Black!” I observed. “She really makes a grand display now.”

“A very good thing has happened to her, I fancy,” said my father. “She has more customers, and those customers are richer. Those gay hats and caps came out of Mr. Malton's hedges and ditches, if you know what I mean by that.”

I supposed he meant that some new families had come to settle at Brooke on account of the Edition: current; Page: [105] demand for labourers; but I should not have thought they were people who could spend their wages in millinery.

“Nor are they,” said my father, in answer to my doubt; “but they spend their wages in bread, milk, beer, meat, and groceries; and, at the same time, cottagers who lived on potatoes formerly are rising in the world, so as to be able to afford themselves these comforts. Their custom helps on the butcher, the baker, and the publican; and Harper told me the other day that he sells twice the quantity of groceries that he did five years ago. So the wives and daughters of these trades-people can afford to dress themselves in Miss Black's fashions; and thus Mr. Malton's money comes round to her.”

“I wonder where it will go next!”

“It is well spent, I believe; for Miss Black is a very good woman. I can tell you that some of her savings are in the hands of a brother at M—. who, by increasing his capital, is able to improve a very promising manufacture.”

“So she receives the interest, and increases her capital every year, I suppose, till she will have gained enough to enable her to leave off business. This money seems to have done good in every stage of its progress. I am very happy to see Gray's children, for instance, well shod and coated. I like to observe the bustle in Harper's shop, and his daughters look very well in their better style of dress. It is pleasant to see Miss Black prospering, especially as it is a sign of the prosperity of the place. This money is Edition: current; Page: [106] not given away by Mr. Malton either; it brings him in more than he pays away.”

“All this stir, therefore, my dear,—this prosperity, which strikes you so much,—is pure gain; and it proceeds from the inclosure of Brooke common.”


Sir H. Withers's eldest son had been travelling abroad for the last three years, and was at this time expected to return to his native village. What he was as a man, few people knew, as he had scarcely set foot in Brooke from the time he left school; but as a boy, he had been a great favourite among his father's tenants and dependants. He had been high-spirited, and at the same time good-natured; fond of the country and its sports, and yet as gentle in his manners and polite in his deportment as if he had lived in a court. So, at least, the old folks said who remembered him best; and the younger ones had also a strong impression of the freedom with which he used to join in their games, or see that there was fair play in their battles, or beg a pardon for them when they had offended at home, or trespassed in Sir Henry's grounds. There was now a general feeling of wonder as to what Edition: current; Page: [107] he would be like, after years spent in a foreign country, where he could neither hear the language nor meet the society of his childhood and youth.

His approach happened at a very good time for the neighbours who met under the elm. News had been scarce for some weeks. Parliament was not sitting; the member for M—was alive and well; nothing extraordinary was going on in the village. Nobody had died for some time: there was not a single courtship, except Gregson's, which had been so long a settled matter that nothing more could be said upon it till the furnishing should begin. Miss Black's spring fashions had ceased to be new amt striking, and Harper's pretty daughters had been admired or censured for their finery till the subject was worn out. In a happy hour, the steward was empowered to proclaim the arrival of Mr. Withers in England, and the expectation of his family that he would visit Brooke in a fortnight or three weeks. How many pipes were smoked, how much ale was drunk at the Arms that evening! Even Grav indulged himself for once. He put by his spade and enjoyed his draught and his neighbours' conversation under the elm. All were pleased;—some with the hope of profit, and others with the prospect of a general rejoicing; and some with both together. Carey remembered that every man in Brooke would require an extra shaving that week, and that most of the children would probably have their hair cut. The butcher had secret hopes that a Edition: current; Page: [108] bullock would be roasted whole; and the baker, who had lately made some experiments in confectionary, warned his wife to purchase her sugar and currants before the price should rise. Wickstead reserved his best tap for the important day, and Miss Black sent an order to M— for an extraordinary supply of ribbons on sale or return. These important affairs settled at home, each gossip was at liberty to enjoy himself at the Arms, and many a shout of merriment was heard that evening, even as far as our white gate.

There was one person in the village who said little on this occasion, but who perhaps felt more than anybody else. Nobody observed her but myself, because no one besides suspected what was in her heart. Our gardener's daughter, Maria, was a great favourite in our house. She was a young woman of twenty-two: a good daughter and sister,—industrious and humble, useful to everybody, liked by everybody, and never seeming to think about herself. She was not particularly pretty, nor particularly clever; and her manners were so quiet that no stranger would discover at a glance why she was so beloved. But those who saw how she kept her father's house in order, how she trained her younger sister, how she attached her little brothers to her, could easily understand why her father drew up when he spoke of his Maria, why my mother placed confidence in her, why the young men of Brooke looked up to her with respect, and their sisters regarded her with affection. When Mr. Withers went abroad, he took with him, as his Edition: current; Page: [109] servant, Joe Harper, the eldest son of the grocer. Joe Harper was a steady young man, in whom Sir Henry could perfectly trust. It was thought a great thing for Joe when the situation was offered him, and everybody was glad of it but one person, and that person was Maria. I found this out by accident, and therefore I never told any one,—not even my mother,—of the discovery I had made. It happened on the very morning that Mr. Withers, his tutor, and Joe were to depart, that I went down to the gardener's cottage to speak about some plants. I supposed that I should find him at breakfast; but breakfast was over, and he was gone to his work, As I drew near the cottage door, Joe ran out, leaped the gate. and hurried down the road, I saw Maria leaning over the table, her face hid in her apron, and apparently in an agony of grief. The cause could not be mistaken. I went back as softly as I could, and I believe she never knew that any one had witnessed her distress. There was never any other trace of it till the present time. She was always cheerful in her spirits and active about her business, and so sober in her manners, that no one set about guessing whom she would marry, and no reports of the kind were heard concerning her.

I could not help watching how she would receive the tidings of Mr. Withers's approach. I saw her the first evening with a cheek somewhat flushed, and a manner a little hurried, standing at the white gate, waiting for one of her brothers Edition: current; Page: [110] whom she had sent after the steward to make particular inquiries. For some days she was not quite herself. She forgot two messages which my mother left for her father, at two separate times: and some trifles went wrong ill the cottage in the course of the week which made my mother go so far as to inquire of Maria whether she was quite well. Before the end of the three weeks, however, she had recovered her self-possession, though I could trace an anxiety in her countenance which made me suppose that the matter was not quite settled between Joe and herself.

Sir Henry Withers and his family generally spent the spring months in London, and returned to their country seat in May. This year their absence had been prolonged, that Mr. Withers might join them in town, and the whole family arrive together. Monday, the 3d of June, was the happy day.

Early on that morning the church-bells clanged in the steeple, and the triumphal arch spanned the road, decked with pictures, garlands, and gay hangings of all sorts. The hand of music which was to animate the dancers in the evening had already arrived from M—, and was stationed under the elm ready to strike up, as soon as the approach of the carriage should he announced. The children were dressed in their holiday clothes, and the fathers and mothers in their smartest and best. The bullock was prepared for the roasting, and the bonfire for being kindled as soon as Edition: current; Page: [111] night should come. Never was such gaiety seen at Brooke, since the occasion of Sir Henry's marriage.

The Maltons called for us soon after breakfast, that we might walk through the village together. Maria was at work beside her open window, where she could hear the hum from the street, and where, I suspected, she was listening for the music.

“At home, Maria, on such a morning as this!” exclaimed my mother, as Maria ran to open the gate for us. “Why are you not in the village, like everybody else?”

“I am going by and by, ma'am; but nay father is gone with the children, and so I thought I would stay behind for an hour or two.”

“Twelve is the time, remember,” said my mother. “You must not miss the sight, for I do not know when you will see such a rejoicing again.”

I observed a tear in Maria's eye as she turned into the cottage, and I thought to myself, “She will not be there.” Nor was she.

When the carriages drew near, Joe Harper was not to be seen. He was not on the first— nor the second. His anxious father made bold to inquire. He was on horseback behind, safe and well, was the reply. His father, his sisters, looked and looked ill vain, while the carriages slowly proceeded past the church and along the street. The music, the shouts, the ding-dong bell, the waving of hats, and shaking of hands, were all lost on the Harpers, who were watching Edition: current; Page: [112] for their long-absent son and brother. At length he came, at full gallop, not along the high-road, but from a lane which led in a circuit from our house.

“Why, he forgets the way!” exclaimed his sisters.—I knew better, for I understood where he had been; and I said to myself, “Now Maria is happy.”

The villagers dined under the trees in the park; and a beautiful sight it was. We joined Sir Henry's family in their walk round the tables, and helped to ascertain that all were served and all were happy. Joe Harper presided at one of the tables by his master's desire; and very attentive he was to all near him. Maria was seated far off at another table with her father.—When the roast beef and plum-puddings had been dispatched, the healths of the family drunk, the few speeches made, and “God save the King” sung in full chorus, a signal was given for clearing the tables that the dancing might begin. The old men seated themselves with their pipes under the trees; the elderly women chatted and kept the children in order, while the young folks tripped it away on the grass. Everybody danced at first who could not plead age and rheumatism in excuse. Mr. Withers himself, my brothers and I, and everybody, danced: but afterwards people were left free to do as they liked; and then I observed that Joe had disappeared, and that Maria was nowhere to be found. Joe's master inquired; Maria's father looked about, but nobody could wonder what had become Edition: current; Page: [113] of them in such a crowd; and so it did not matter. I could have told; for I saw two people stealing away into a shady walk just before sunset, and leaving the bustle and merriment behind them;—to enjoy something better, no doubt.

The village rang with the praises of Mr. Henry. He was so hearty, so kind, so much like what he used to be in all the better parts of his character, though so many years older in looks and manners. It was difficult to believe that he had been absent for so many years, for he had forgotten no person, place, or circumstance. He inquired after the old magpie, took down his angling rod with pleasure, and told his former playfellows about what he had seen since he left England. What was better, he went to visit old nurse Pitman, who was bedridden, and could not therefore pay her respects to him; and early one morning he was seen on the dewy grass of the churchyard, reading the tombstones which had been put up during the last five years.

I admired all this as much as my neighbours; but I liked Joe's constancy quite as well; and I thought it equally to the credit of master and man that, having passed through many changes of country and society, they had brought home warm and faithful hearts.

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“I have a piece of news for you,” said my father, one day after dinner.

“The news always comes with the dessert,” observed my mother, smiling; “and a very pleasant dessert it is for people who live in a country village.”

“When it comes after dinner,” said I, “it is certain it can be nothing of supreme importance, because if it was, papa could not keep it to himself till then.”

My father laughed, and said he had a good mind not to tell me at all, that I might see whether he could not keep a piece of good news to himself.

“Perhaps I know it already?” said I.

“That is impossible,” replied he; “for I was the very first person to whom it was told, and that was less than an hour before dinner. But come; let us hear what you think it is.”

“Nay,” said I, “that would be letting out my secret: but if you will tell half, perhaps I will declare the rest.”

“Well, then; the gardener tells me his daughter Maria is going to be married—”

“To Joe Harper,” I instantly added.

“Who told yon, Lucy?”

“I have known it these three years.”

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“Impossible, nay dear. It was settled only this morning.”

“Well; I knew that they were attached three years ago, and that Joe was constant, and brought hack a true heart.” And I told the story.

“I am glad you can keep a secret, my dear. But as to keeping a secret from you, that I am afraid is impossible.”

“Nay, papa, I could not help seeing what was before my eyes; and I assure you I did not pry.”

“No; you only laid circumstances together, and fancied a pretty love story out of them.”

“And as true as it is pretty, papa. But I know nothing more than the fact of their attachment; so pray tell us all you can:—when they are to marry and where they are to live, and—”

“And how they are to live,” added my mother; “for that is the most important question.”

My father told us that Joe had received high wages while abroad; and had saved a considerable sum. It was not yet settled what he was to do with it: but he had the choice of two or three occupations, for any of which he was well fitted. He added that Maria wished to consult my mother about their plans.

My mother was ready to do anything she could for young people for whom she had a high respect and regard.

Joe Harper had the offer from his master of a small farm, if be chose to employ his capital in stocking it; but Joe had seen so much of the Edition: current; Page: [116] danger and difficulty incurred by beginning to farm without sufficient capital, that he did not choose to venture. As for borrowing a little to add to his own and buying a very small property, as his father hinted that he might, he would not for a moment listen to it. He declared that he knew small properties to bring nothing but ruin, if they were the only dependance of the labouring man; and that if he had a legacy to-morrow of a farm of fifty acres, he would sell it immediately, unless a very pretty capital in money were left with it. This was said in the hearing of two or three neighbours who were curious to know what he had seen abroad that gave him such a horror of small properties.

“I have seen more misery than I could easily give you an idea of: and that, too, in spite of the most indefatigable industry. In Languedoc, a province of France, there are mountains which are cultivated to the very top, by means which no one dreams of here. But those who cultivate them are miserably poor, because each possesses a piece of ground which can never, by the best management, be made to maintain a family. I have seen people carrying earth in baskets on their backs to the top of a mountain which was of itself too rocky for anything to grow upon it.”

“That puts me in mind,” said the sergeant, “of what I have heard about China. The people there are too numerous for the produce of the land, and therefore many are in the lowest Edition: current; Page: [117] depths of poverty. I am told that it is no uncommon thing there for a man to take possession of a ledge of rock which cannot be got at but by his companions letting him down by a rope from the mountain top. They let down baskets of earth to him, which he spreads to a sufficient thickness, and then sows his seed, and he and his neighbours share the produce. There he hangs, poor creature, in the heat of the day, toiling on the burning rock, to raise a quantity of food which would not be thought worth the trouble of a day's work in England.”

“But,” inquired a neighbour, “why do they spend their labour in any such way? There must be some better means of getting their bread.”

“In such a case as that in Languedoc, of which I was speaking,” said Joe, “the people are attached to the soil from its being their own. It is the custom there for families to divide the paternal property; and hence arises all this poverty. A man with a family may be well off with a farm of two hundred acres, and his two sons may do well enough on one hundred each: but when this one hundred is divided among five children, and then again among their five children, it becomes too small to be tilled with any advantage. And yet these young folks are deceived by the notion of having landed property; and they marry when the land is divided into roods, as readily as if they had a fine estate.”

“Surely, Joe, that cannot be?”

“It is perfectly true, I assure you. I have Edition: current; Page: [118] seen a family as much attached to half and even a quarter of a rood as if it had been a hundred acres.”

“But that is downright folly.”

“I can imagine, however, that it is hard to give up a bit of land that has been in the family for generations.”

“But what happens at last?”

“They are obliged at last to sell, of course, and betake themselves to other employments. They are wise if they begin to sell soon enough.”

“I have heard,” said the sergeant, “that the reason why we find so many Swiss in other countries is, that the land is divided and divided again, in the way you describe, till the people cannot live upon it.”

“In Switzerland,” said Joe, “they do not commonly go on to the last moment before they sell. When a small farmer leaves his estate among his children, it is common for the eldest of the richest son to purchase their slips of land from his brothers and sisters, while they find a subsistence in other countries as soldiers, valets, tutors, and governesses.”

“And why not in their own?”

“Because Switzerland is a poor country, and there is not capital enough in it to employ its population.”

“I have often wondered,” said one, “wily we hear so much of Swiss regiments in the armies of other countries.”

“And Swiss governesses are often met with in France and Germany, and even in England: Edition: current; Page: [119] and gentlemen travelling abroad are frequently attended by a Swiss servant.”

“They cannot love their country as other people do, or they would not leave it so readily.”

“Indeed, you are quite mistaken there,” cried Joe. “There is no nation upon earth more attached to home and country. Did you never hear of a certain air of which the Swiss are very fond, and which affects them so much when they hear it played in foreign lands, that it is dangerous to indulge them with it?”

“It was forbidden to be played in the hearing of a Swiss regiment,” said the sergeant, “lest it should make the men desert. When they heard it, they cast themselves down on the ground, and some seemed half dead with the violence of their emotion,”

“How beautiful the music must be!”

“Not particularly so to us, any more than our “God save the King” is to them: but its power lies in the recollections it calls up. It its the air which sounds along the mountain pastures when the cows wander home in the evening: so, when the exile hears it, he thinks of the glorious mountains of his country, glowing in the setting sun. He hears the lowing of the herds: he sees the pretty cottage in a sheltered nook, and remembers his brethren and friends; and these recollections are too much for him.”

“No wonder,” said the sergeant. “But I believe they seldom banish themselves for life.”

“No: they have a hope of saving enough to support them in their latter days, in their native Edition: current; Page: [120] province. But it is a very hard case; and a man will bear much before he will submit to exile, even from his paternal estate. In one place, in France, I saw several horses with a man attending each, with pannier-loads of sea ooze which they were carrying many miles to manure their little fields. In another place, I saw women cutting grass for their cows by the side of the road, in harvest time: and this was in a rich country too.”

“It is a pity there was no large farmer in the neighbourhood to employ them to better purpose.”

“So I thought when I saw a stout, hearty man walking seven miles to sell two chickens, which would not bring him more than a shilling a piece, as he told me.”

“Why, they would not pay the wear of his shoes and their own feed—to say nothing of his time and labour.”

“But I cannot see, Joe,” said his father, “why these people should not keep their bit of land, and labour for others also. It is what some of our cottagers do.”

“They are above it, father, sometimes; and in most cases there is no work for them. It is generally found that those who have been brought up to a little estate of their own never do labour with heart and good will for other people. A man would rather dawdle about his own little farm, fancying that there is something for him to do, than let himself for a labourer. He will look for a hole in his hedge, he will carry earth Edition: current; Page: [121] in a basket to the top of a mountain, he will walk ten miles to sell an egg, and he will be content with twopence a day on his own ground instead of half-a-crown on another man's, if he is born to call himself a landed proprietor. It frequently happens, however, that there is no employment for him elsewhere: for where these small properties abound, there are not many large: so that the population is, in those places, far too great in proportion,—not perhaps to the land,—but to its productiveness.”

“Do you mean to say that there is this poverty wherever there are small properties?”

“By no means. In some districts the soil is so fertile that it repays most amply whatever laborer is spent upon it. On the banks of certain rivers, and sometimes throughout a whole province, the little farmers are very comfortably off as long as they make their children provide for themselves by some other way than cutting the land into strips. But I think I may say that wherever capital is required to improve the soil, and wherever an estate is liable to be divided into roods, or half and quarter roods, such a possession is more of a curse than a blessing to the owner and to society.”

“I suppose, Joe,” said a bystander, “that you are as great an admirer of the law of primogeniture as any true Englishman should be? Of course you are, as yon say so much against small properties.”

“I do not see how the one follows from the Edition: current; Page: [122] other,” replied Joe. “On the contrary, I utterly disapprove of the interference of the law in the disposal of private property.”

“Only contrast France and England,” said the sergeant, “and see what opposite mischiefs the meddling of the law has caused in both. In France, there is a law of succession which divides estates in certain proportions among the children of a family, independently of the will of the father; and the consequence is, that the land is subdivided to such an extent as to discourage the improvement of agriculture, and to expose the nation to many of the ills Joe has been describing, except where the heirs are prudent enough to prevent the evil by private agreement. In England, the law of primogeniture has encouraged the accumulation of property in a few hands to a very mischievous extent. Our noblemen embellish their parks, and plant woods to a certain distance round their mansions; but the rest of the property generally suffers for the enormous sums spent on a part, and is left unimproved. There are far too many estates in this kingdom too large to be properly managed by the care of one man, or by the reproduceable capital of one family.”

“The days are past,” said Joe, “when every true Englishman must uphold the law of primogeniture.”

“Well, then, Joe, letting the law alone,—I suppose you like the custom of primogeniture?”

“Little better than the law, neighbour.”

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“What security would you have then, against such subdivision of property as you have been groaning over for this hour past.?”

“A security as strong as any law that ever was made,—the feelings of a parent guided by experience. Those feelings have been stifled too long by a law and a custom which neither principle nor policy can justify; but let them have fair play, and you will find that a man will be as unwilling on the one hand to prepare for his great-grandchildren being impoverished by the division of the land, as, on the other, to turn all his younger children adrift for the sake of enriching the eldest.”

“What would you do, then, if you could govern in this matter?”

“I should leave parents to dispose of their property as they would, trusting that if they had a perfectas freedom of willing, they would provide for their estates being kept of a proper size, even if they could not trust their children's prudence. There are many ways of doing this. There might be directions that the land should be sold, and the purchase-money divided; or a legacy of land left to one of the children charged with portions or annuities to the rest; or an injunction that the family should form a sort of joint stock company, and cultivate their property by a union of their shares. There are many other arrangements, some of which have been tried, and some have not,—every one being more just and politic than the institution of primogeniture.”

“So much for the father, and his feelings and Edition: current; Page: [124] interests,” said the sergeant. “Now let the children be considered. is it in the least likely that they should set their hearts upon making their family property yield as little as possible? Will they not be anxious to prevent their property wasting till it melts away before it reaches the third generation from them?”

“Besides,” said Joe, “it never happens that all the members of a family have a mind for the same occupation. It would be strange, indeed, if all the sons, be they soldiers, sailors, professional men, or tradesmen, and all the daughters besides, should take a fancy to leave their employments for the sake of cultivating their land themselves; and if they either sell or let it, it may as well be to a brother as a stranger. O, depend upon it they have every inducement of interest and of principle, to keep the family estate entire, and need no law to oblige them to it.”

“But Joe, the shares of rent or annuities would become so small in time by subdivision that it would have nearly the same effect as dividing the land, would it not?”

“They would be sold before they dwindled down so far,” replied Joe: “you know there is not the same dislike to selling where the legatees do not live upon their shares as there is where they cultivate them with their own hands. There are examples enough in France of such family sales among prudent heirs to convince us that people here would find it their interest to let the landed capital of the family accumulate up to a certain point,”

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“If the Swiss had ever known what might be done by the accumulation of capital and by its judicious application,” said a neighbour, “I suppose they might make their estates worth more than they are.”

“Switzerland will not always be the poor country it is,” said Joe, ” for the people, primitive as they still are in many of their customs, have learned, and will learn yet more, what may be done by an economy of labour and a union of capitals. I saw one very pleasant instance of this. The little farmers keep cows in the pastures among the mountains, where there are no families near to buy their milk, or butter, or cheese; so that, some years ago, it cost them much labour and time to find a market for the produce of their cows. One poor woman, who kept some cows, six or eight miles from Geneva, carried the milk there every day for sale.”

“Six miles and back again to sell milk! Why, she had much better have been dairy-maid to some considerable farmer who would have paid her good wages.”

“To be sure. But they manage these things better now. There are large public dairies established, to which the neighbouring cow-keepers bring their daily stock of milk, which is returned to them in the form of butter and cheese; a certain quantity being kept back for payment to the owners of the dairies.”

“That is a very clever plan, and a great convenience to the people, I dare say.”

“Very great; but they would still be better Edition: current; Page: [126] off, in my opinion, as labourers in the service of some great proprietor.”

“We shall never make a farmer of you, Joe,” said his father. “You used to have a great mind for it; but now you seem quite prejudiced against it.”

“Not so, father, I hope. I think it one of the pleasantest occupations in the world; and if I had as much money as Mr. Malton, or even a good deal less, I should like nothing better than to be a farmer. The whole nation, the whole world is obliged to him who makes corn grow where it never grew before; and yet more to him who makes two ears ripen where only one ripened before. The race at large is indebted to the man who increases the means of subsistence in any way. My objection is to the imprudence of beginning to farm without a sufficient capital of land or money: and I do not see how a man that does so is more excusable than one who commits the same fault in trade.”

“Well, please yourself, son. You have gained your little money honestly, and it would be hard if you might not do what you like with it: and you seem to have thought a good deal about prudence, and about different ways of going through the world honestly and comfortably.”

“I should have travelled to little purpose, father, if I had not.”

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My father is a justice of the peace. Every body connected with one who holds such an office knows what interest arises out of its transactions to those who care about the joys and sorrows, the rights and liberties of their neighbours. It was not my father's custom to allow his family to form a little court before which a culprit might tremble, or a nervous witness be abashed. He received the parties who came to him on business in a hall, where it was not possible for the young people to peep from a door, or for the servants to listen from the stairs. My brothers were sometimes present at examinations, that they might take a lesson in what might at some future day become their duty; and we generally heard after dinner what had passed; but there was no gratification allowed to our curiosity in the presence of the parties.

On one occasion mine was very strongly excited, and I did long to gain admittance to the justice hall. I came in, one fine summer morning, from the garden, and passed through the hall, not being aware that any one was there. But there stood Norton with a gloomy brow, and Hal Williams, evidently in custody, looking the picture of shame and despair. He turned half round as I entered, to avoid meeting my eye, and pretended to brush his bare brown hat. My father Edition: current; Page: [128] appearing, I made my retreat, and was obliged to wait till the afternoon for further satisfaction. If it had not been too warm a day for walking, I should have learned the event out of doors, for the whole village rang with it. Hal was committed for sheep-stealing.

Nobody could be surprised at this, who observed how the unhappy man had been going on for some time. My father had known him to have been guilty of poaching to a great extent the winter before; but there was never evidence enough to justify his being apprehended. The next step to poaching is sheep-stealing; and this step Hal had taken. The evidence was so clear, that it was useless to attempt any defence. Norton had lost a lamb in the night. Search was made in Hal's house; and three quarters of lamb, not cut up by a butcher, were found under some straw in his cottage; and the hide, bearing Norton's mark, was dug up from where it had been buried, behind the dwelling.—As soon as Hal went to prison, his drooping wife, and idle unmanageable boys became chargeable to the parish.

When Norton had finished the painful task of giving his evidence against an old neighbour, he proceeded to Mr. Malton's to do a thing more painful still. He went to offer his little farm for sale, and to let his labour where it would obtain a better reward than his two poor fields could afford. It was a sore necessity; and long was it before he could bring himself to entertain the thought. Even now, when he was quite determined, Edition: current; Page: [129] he could with difficulty nerve himself for the interview with Mr. Malton. He slackened his pace more and more as he drew near Brooke Farm; and just as he was about to enter the chesnut avenue, he remembered that he should be more likely to meet Mr. Malton if he went by the lanes; so he turned back and approached by the path which I have described as my chosen one. He stopped to watch a frog leaping across the road till be saw it safe into the opposite ditch. He plucked some wild flowers tor his button-hole, but forgot to put them there, and pulled them to pieces instead. He lingered to watch the rooks as they sailed round the old elms: but their “caw, caw” which most people find rather a soothing sound, made poor Norton fidgety to-day. He was going to walk away when he heard the pacing of a horse's feet in the dust of the lane. He looked round and started to see Mr. Malton.

“Why, Norton, you are in a reverie,” said Mr. Malton, who observed the start. “I suppose it is a holiday with you that you stand watching the rooks with your hands in your pockets?”

“It is an odd sort of a—.” Norton choked at the word “holiday.”

Mr. Malton's face was full of concern instantly. He dismounted and led his horse by the bridle while Norton walked beside him. Both were silent for some time.

“Have you anything to say to me?” inquired Mr. Malton at length. “You trust in me, I hope, Norton, as a friend?”

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“If I did not, sir, I should not be here now. If I thought you an enemy or only indifferent, I would go into the workhouse before I would tell you a syllable of what is in my mind. I came, sir, to say that I find I must give up my farm; and I wish to know what you would advise me to do with it.”

“I am glad it is no worse, Norton. I do not at all doubt that it is a sad pinch to you to give up a plan from which you once hoped so much; but you will be repaid for the effort, trust me. If you are steady in your determination, the worst of your difficulties is over.”

“I don't think I shall change my mind again, sir. It is a sad thing to walk through my fields after crossing one of yours. One can scarcely get a finger in between your wheat stalks, I find; and mine rise as thin and straggling as thorns in an ill-grown fence. There is nothing but ruin in such harvests as mine are likely to be.—I should be glad to sell my land, sir, and my stock, either to you or some one else, and to have work under you again, if you have it still to give me.”

“I will take your land and stock on a fair valuation; and as for employment, make your mind easy about that. One of my largest tenants is looking out for a bailiff, and I should think the situation would just suit you, Norton. I can answer for your being fit for it.”

Norton's face crimsoned at the idea that he should not have to become a labourer on the ground which he had possessed. He had a good deal of pride left; and he was more obliged to his rich neighbour for his tenderness to this Edition: current; Page: [131] weakness than if he had given him capital to carry on his farm.

“If you obtain this situation,” continued Mr. Malton, who saw what was in his mind, “your cottage goes with your land; and you will find you have changed for the better, I assure you. My tenant gives his bailiff a very comfortable dwelling; and. when you find yourself under a whole roof, with a mind free from dread and care, I think you will not repent the step you have taken.”

“I believe it, sir; and I hope you will see that your kindness is not lost upon me. Now I have felt the value of gentle treatment in misfortune, I think I shall never be hard upon those under me. I am quite ashamed, sir, to think of the strange things that I fancied I might have to go through in giving up my farm. It all seems straightforward enough now, if I can but get this appointment.”

When the mode of valuation, and the time when Mr. Malton should take the land into his own hands, were settled, the good man mounted his horse and trotted off with a kind “Good day to you.”

As soon as he was out of sight, Norton stretched himself as vigorously as if he had been bent double for twenty-four hours. He returned home, forgetting to quarrel with the rooks, or to pull wild flowers to pieces by the way.

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Education came in the train of other good things to bless the people of Brooke. There was much opposition at first from many who, having got through life so far without having learned to read, could not see why their children should not do the same. Regard to the persons concerned, however, carried the point where the principle was disputed; and when it was found that, in addition to the school being proposed by my mother and sanctioned by the clergyman, it was intended that it should be kept by Joe Harper and his wife, the opposition was in a great measure quieted. In a few months, it was hushed entirely; for the children, from seeming a set of little savages, began to look like civilized beings. They were no longer dirty, noisy, quarrelsome, and generally either crying or laughing. They could sit still without being sulky, and move about without being riotous; they could answer a question freely and respectfully at the same time: they could be industrious and cheerful at once. They could be trusted among the flowers in Joe's garden, and learned to do no harm if admitted into the house.

Everybody was surprised that Joe should expect to raise flowers in his little court by the school-house, when so many rough children were to be at play so near: but Joe said in their hearing Edition: current; Page: [133] that he thought, when they knew how he prized his roses and pinks, they would take care not to spoil his garden. And so it proves. If the children lose a bail there, they ask for it instead of climbing the paling; and no one is ever known to pluck a flower, though a good boy or girl often wears a rose given by the master or mistress as a reward.

Joe's house is the admiration of all who know what comfort is. The parlour has a boarded floor, which is sanded according to the old fashion. A handsome clock ticks behind the door. The best tea-tray and caddy stand on the mahogany table opposite the fire-place, and a footstool which Maria worked when a young girl, is placed under it. Joe has some books, as becomes a schoolmaster; and they are of a kind so much above what any scholar of his own rank in the village has ever seen, that it has long been hinted that Joe is a very learned man. There is a Latin grammar and dictionary, and a book all in Latin besides; or, if not Latin, nobody knows what it is. There are two books about the stars; and a volume full of figures in columns, with a name so odd that nobody catches it easily. There are besides several volumes of voyages and travels, and with them a set which, from its title, was supposed to belong to the same class. It is called the Rambler; but a neighbour, who took it down from the shelf one day, says there is nothing in it about foreign countries. There are works of a serious cast, as all would expect who are acquainted with Joe; and to these Maria has added Edition: current; Page: [134] a few religious books which were left her by her mother.—The greatest ornaments of this parlour, however, are some pictures of cities and other places abroad, which Joe brought home with him. The city of Florence is perhaps the most beautiful; but the most remarkable is a view of the bay of Naples, and mount Vesuvius in the distance. Maria is very proud of this last, as her husband saw with his own eyes the flames shooting up out of the burning mountain.

I never enjoyed a visit to the school-house more than yesterday, when I went to beg a holiday for the children on account of Mr. Malton's harvest-home. It was a pleasure to see the troop of boys and girls pouring out of the play-ground, and laughing and talking as they hastened to the harvest-field, while Maria and I followed to share the gaiety. Joe so seldom has leisure for books, that he remained behind, sure, on such a day, of having his hours and his wits to himself. What a busy scene when we arrived! The reapers stooping to their cheerful toil,—the elderly folks full of the pleasant recollections of many harvests; the lads full of gallantry, and the lasses of mirth! How complacently Mr. Malton surveyed the field, now following the reapers to build up the shocks, now crumbling a fruitful ear of wheat in his hands, now flinging a handful from a rich sheaf to some decrepit gleaner, or to some toddling little one who must have a share in the business of the day! What an apron-full Gray's children had gathered presently, and how kindly their father nodded to them when he Edition: current; Page: [135] stuck his sickle into the sheaf for a moment to wipe his brows! How witty Carey was cracking his jokes within earshot of the Maltons and ourselves, observing that he was not in his right place in a field of wheat,—that as a barber ought to be where there are most beards, he thought he should adjourn to the oat or barley field! How Miss Black evidently admired, as I passed her door, the bunch of wheat-ears the children had stuck into my bonnet while I left it hanging on the hedge, and sat down in the shade! My mother is certain, from Miss Black's satisfactory nod,—as much as to say, “I have it,”—that artificial wheat-ears will wave in all bonnets next winter.

How goodly looked the last waggon, laden with golden grain, as it turned out of the field at sunset, leaving a few ears dangling from the sprays for gleaners as it creaked along the lane! Merry were the sounds from the train that followed. The songs which should have been kept for the harvest-supper began to burst forth already, the deep bass of a manly voice making itself heard above the shrill laughter of the children. This was truly the music of glad hearts.

We saw the long tables set out for the harvest-feast, and went through our annual speculations about how so much good cheer was to be consumed. As we were returning, my mother observed that it would be a fine moonlight night; and that she hoped the sergeant would come and report proceedings to us, as he would have such a lamp to light him home, however late he might Edition: current; Page: [136] be. He left the table with the first sober folks who rose to depart, and looked in on us as he passed.

“Well, sergeant!” said my father, when he entered; “have you had a merry harvest feast?”

“Very much so, sir; but I am so hoarse with singing and talking, that I am afraid I can hardly tell you much about it.”

“We will have a glass of ale,” said my father, ringing the bell; “and then you shall tell me as much as you like, and leave the rest for Carey in the morning. We must drink prosperity to Brooke, and many a merry harvest home”

“There is prosperity in Brooke,” said the sergeant, as he set down his glass. “It any of my neighbours pretend to doubt it, and point out one or two who take parish relief, or two or three who seem to be going down in the world, I shew them the cottages on the common, welt thatched and clean white-washed, with their gardens behind them. I count numbers, and prove that our population has increased one-half. I shew them the school-house and the shops, so much busier than they used to be; and the new carrier's cart to M—, and all the improvements in the place.”

“I am heartily glad to see, sergeant, that you relish these changes; for men at your time of life do not generally like them.”

“It all depends, sir, on what the changes are. I am thankful that I have lived to see so many poor neighbours gathering their comforts about them; and I shall be all the more ready to go to Edition: current; Page: [137] my grave if I see a fine, thriving race of young folks rising up to do more good in the world than I have done. And if they think of me sometimes, I hope they will remember,” he continued, addressing my brothers, “that their old friend looked to them to fulfil his hearty wish of Prosperity to Brooke.”

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Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.

We have not advanced to any new principles of the science of Political Economy in the present volume. We have only exemplified some of the principles laid down in our last volume by illustrations of certain truths respecting a few particular modes of accumulating and applying Capital. These truths may be arranged as follows:

Production being the great end in the employment of Labour and Capital, that application of both which secures the largest production is the best.

Large capitals well managed, produce in a larger proportion than small.

In its application to land, for instance, a large capital employs new powers of production, —as in the cultivation of wastes;

.... enables its owner to wait for ample but distant returns,—as in planting;

.... facilitates the division of labour;

............the succession of crops, or division of time;

............reproduction, by economizing the investment of fixed capital;

............the economy of convertible husbandry;

............the improvement of soils by manuring, irrigation, &c.;

............the improvement of implements of husbandry;

............the improvement of breeds of live stock.

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Large capitals also provide

for the prevention of famine, by furnishing a variety of food; and for the regular supply of the market, by enabling capitalists to wait for their returns.

Large capitals are therefore preferable to an equal aggregate amount of small capitals, for two reasons; viz.

they occasion a large production in proportion; and they promote, by means peculiar to themselves, the general safety and convenience.

Capitals may, however, be too large. They are so when they become disproportioned to the managing power.

The interest of capitalists best determines the extent of capital; and any interference of the law is therefore unnecessary.

The interference of the law is injurious; as may be seen by the tendency of the law of Succession in France to divide properties too far, and of the law of Primogeniture in England to consolidate them too extensively.

The increase of agricultural capital provides a fund for the employment of manufacturing and commercial, as well as agricultural, labour.

The interests of the manufacturing and agricultural classes are therefore not opposed to each other, but closely allied.

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printed by william clowes,
Stanford Street.